Dear Savvy Auntie,

I am a stay at home aunt, which is pretty much a step-in-mom for my sister and brother-in-law who work a lot. All year I provide fun but cheap things for my 9 year old niece. She's becoming ungrateful because the one time of year she goes to her grandma's house on her dad's side, she gets a lot of expensive nice things. And because of that, I don't get her too much for Christmas. She's starting to realize it and resents me for it.

Isn't me taking care of her year round good enough? I provide a loving alternative environment for her when she can't be home.

Am I being selfish to feel sad and like my own niece hates me? Don't get me wrong; I love his side of the family. They are wonderful people who mean well. I just hate that on Christmas Eve, after going to her grandma's, that my niece knows she won't be opening as many gifts Christmas morning from me as she did today at her grandma's.

Can you help?

Stay At Home Aunt

Dear Stay At Home Aunt,

I understand your feelings. There are a few things you can implement for you to feel better.

1:  Diminish the year-round gifts and put the money in a jar so that you can buy her a more substantial gift for special occasions. Explain this change to your niece; it will help her begin to understand money and gifts.

2:  Ask your sister if you can give your niece a small allowance and take her shopping. This is a very effective way for you to teach her the value of money.

3:  Remember that your niece is only 9 years old and should not be expected to understand money and gifts. Developmentally, and with you help, she will acquire a better understanding in a few years.

4:  Check your deeper feelings of competition and rejection. Do they truly have their roots with your niece?

5:  Try not to take her comments personally. She needs both sides of the family and their behaviors for a full development.

I hope this helpful.

Good luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Photo: Photosebia
Published: December 27, 2015


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