9 answers

Ungrateful Niece

I have a 17 yr. old niece whom I've raised since she was 12, and along the way she got pregnant. Ok long story short, the baby just turned 1yr. and she needed "help" with the birthday party which I ended up paying for it ALL. The night before she was supposed to spend the the night at my house to help me decorate and get candy bags(40) ready for the party. Well, she showed up the day of and about an hour before the party started and did nothing because everything was already done for her and at the end of the night she did say "thank you" but it wasn't sincere. I feel for her but at the same time I'm very upset that I even helped. I want to let her know that I am hurt about her bad attitude, and I'm also broke because of this. How can I approach her without letting my temper get in the way?
(I bought 2 cakes, food, candy, a pinata, bouncy house, shoot the works) ANY and ALL advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you Moms.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you all for taking the time out to help with my issues. We've talked and things turned out better then expected. Thanks again everyone!!

More Answers

She is 17. I would hope you did what you did for the little girl turning one. It is sad her own mother is ungrateful and not even aware of your hard work and efforts though.
I would sit her down and simply say something like
"you know I love you, you are like my daughter and always will be. I am here for you when you need help. However, when I feel taken advantage of I think I should speak up and say I didn't appreciate that you didn't follow through with your daughters party, that I ended up doing the legwork and paying for everything, being a parent means you have to set aside any selfish behavior and focus on your daughter".
It may go in one ear and out the other, but you should be able to be honest with tact with her so not to put her on the defense.
Tell her you are not attacking her or putting her down, be open to her feelings too, but be prepared for her maybe taking it the wrong way.
I think at 17 their brains are wired so differently then at your age. Being considerate and thoughtful sometimes isn't the forefront of their minds. By simply pointing out how it made you feel and you showing her what maybe would have been a better way to handle it is all you can do.
Hugs and good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Something I've learned from the Parenting with Love and Logic book is that kids of all ages need to learn the consequences of their actions. If she's going to be a teenage mom, all on her own, then she should be throwing a 1 year party on her own. I think you got the roles reversed here. She should have scrounged up the money for what she wanted, and you should have offered to help decorate, instead of the other way around.
I don't know what other kids were there, but a bouncy house, pinata, and 2 cakes are a bit much for a one-year old! A one-year old can't enjoy a bouncy house or a pinata or candy bags. Seriously, our one-year parties consisted of grandma, grandpa, aunts, and uncles coming over to our house. WE had some balloons and streamers and construction-paper decorations, a home-made cake, and a few fun little games about the baby. Then we ate cake and opened about 4 presents and we all went home.
I'm sure you have taken good care of your niece, and that's why she doesn't know what it's like to do without. And now when you went all out for her child, she is thinking that this is how life really is. Even though she screws up her life, someone will bail her out.
Stop bailing her out. She'll probably scream and shout about it, but if you don't, she'll never learn to be a responsible adult and will keep coming to you every time she doesn't have something she wants.
You say your 3 year old is spoiled. Well, so is your niece. And it's because you give her too much.

2 moms found this helpful

I disagree that you should try to make her pay for it- you took on the responsibility when you did everything for her and now you feel used, but you should try to teach her responsibility by also being responsible for your own decisions. She obviously thought that her rich aunt L. would just put the whole thing together and that's why she wasn't grateful because she was expecting you to do it from the beginning because you are a push-over. My mom is a push-over and it has made her a victim for at least my whole life.

I strongly recommend that you let her know that this was the last birthday party that you will be putting on for HER child (even if you really want to do it again sometime in the future) She was probably protecting herself from being responsible for all the money you were going to spend by letting you do it of your own accord and just staying away until the party began- it makes me worry about how she is raising her kid.

I think you are worried about losing your temper because, like most push-overs, you think that there is something wrong with getting angry but that's not true it is ok to be angry and feel used- just remember that you are the one who made yourself into the victim here; she just asked you to 'help-out with the party' so don't blame her for that. You are a really nice person and if she has half a conscious she will feel bad and appoligize when you tell her in no uncertain terms how you feel about the situation and how the situation will be different if she asks for your help in the future.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi, L.! I would write up a bill for materials (stuff you paid for and rented) and labor (the amount of time you put in) and very nicely hand it to her. She can't treat you like the hired help. When she confronts you about it, you can tell her that although you don't really expect her to pay for the "labor", you do expect to be paid back for the "materials" and you just wanted to bring it to her attention that she really did take advantage of you and you didn't appreciate it. You love her and her baby, but this party has taken $$ and time away that you could have spent on your own little girl. If you don't address this with your niece, it will happen again and again. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow! L., there are some really tuff mom's out there. And maybe they are right. But from where I stand it seems that you allowed yourself to be taken advantage of. I am not coming down on you I do it all the time with my adult kids. Then kick myself for "over doing it" once again! My mom will say, "you are being taken advantage of, you need to pull back a bit, not call so much, not be so available to those girls. You have put yourself in this fix!" And I know she is right. They did not ask for everything I did, I just offered. Then was angry with myself and they were in trouble too. If you are doing the same thing just remember she is just acting like a typical selfish, self centered teen ager. She will probably expect you to do something else for her next week. If she hasn't called you all ready. Let this go! I have never seen a good outcome from hurting a family member. Never! I know she hurt you so, you need to guard your feelings and apparently your check book a little tighter. Love her and don't go overboard again.

1 mom found this helpful

First give her all the reciets from the party and expect her to pay.
Second, next time say no.
It is her child and her responsibility.
C. B

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

I can see that you are hurt. However, teenagers, regardless of whether they have a child or not don't have a level of maturity that you are expecting. She should be grateful and more appreciative and helped out more. Your feelings aren't unjustified. But my advice is this. You need to tell her these things in a very calm collected way just like any other lesson you've taught her as she has grown. And you need to take responsibility for your own budget. A 1-yr old's birthday party isn't a reason to blow your budget, and if you over did it then you need to cut back and know that you spent the money of your own free will and don't add to the drama because of it.
Kindest Regards,

1 mom found this helpful

I think you expected too much from her. Did she SAY she wanted to do all this stuff? Was she really involved in the planning? I wouldn't have done anything without her involvement. That's neither here, nor there now. I would seriously lower my expectations for plans in the future. One year old's don't care about much anyway at their parties. That was really generous of you to do so much though.

1 mom found this helpful

First, I completely admire you for stepping up and taking care of your niece. You should feel very proud of yourself. On top of that, it sounds like you are playing a large role with her baby. Very commendable, however, it sounds like you need to set some boundaries that will help your niece take responsibility. Honestly, it sounds like she knows how to take advantage of you. I think a little tough love needs to come into play. Are there any consequences for her actions? Are you able to speak openly with her? You definitely should sit down and explain how you feel. Otherwise, she'll never understand and you'll most likely hold onto some resentment toward her. I would suggest you explain the situation...how it made you feel, how it financially impacted you and see if she understands. Tell her that there will be consequences on future behavior. For example, if she has a cell phone and abuses using it, you give her 1 warning. If she does not follow through, you take the phone away temporarily. Or if she has a curfew and shows up late, you take away her right to go out for two weeks, etc. She needs to understand that there are always consequences for failed actions or behavior. This may sound a little tough, but it will benefit her tremendously in her own parenting role. Good luck.

Hope this is helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

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