Dear Savvy Auntie,

My niece is in college right now, and though she started out with a major that her parents supported and approved of, she has moved on to a new major and different career path. This new path she has chosen doesn’t have the same job security and a lower average income than the path that her parents encouraged.

On Christmas Day, her mother was talking to me and some family friends about her concerns with my niece's chosen path and voiced her doubts that her daughter will achieve success in her chosen profession. My niece walked by during this conversation and definitely overheard some of the things that were being said. What are some ways that I can be supportive of my niece without making her parents seem like the “bad guy”? I know they have good intentions and are concerned about their daughter, but I think that she can definitely feel the lack of support.

Supportive Auntie

Dear Supportive Auntie,

I would guess that this is not the first time that her mother was critical and unsupportive. So your niece has probably heard this type of comment many times and still she switches her major and career path... Brava!
Of course, I suggest you speak with her mother and try to discover why she is so vehement and try to tell her the importance of pursuing a career that is fulfilling. There is a great deal of research that reports that depression and stress are the result of working in a field that is not satisfying and that people who follow their passion, talent, and/or their inclination and interest are healthier and happier.
You can still be supportive of your niece in many small ways that will add up and not go directly against her mother. It is a very common problem for aunties (and grandparents) to be in a difficult position when they disagree with the parent and you are wise not to go head-to-head. The most productive solution is increased communication with the parent; try to be inquisitive, open minded, and understanding of the mother and this will filter down to your niece and be appreciated by her.
Best of luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield


Content Rating