The Nice Advice: How to talk with a difficult teenage niece?

Published 9:00 am Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Nice Advice by Leah Albert

Dear Leah,

My 19-year-old niece has announced that she is having her boyfriend move in with her into her college off-campus apartment to help with expenses. This is because her parents suggested she spend her money more wisely instead of constantly asking for handouts from them. She knows full well how much they disapprove of that.

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I am surprised and so disappointed in her childish disrespectful manner when talking to me about it. What can I say? Is there anything that gets through to 20-year-olds these days? I would have never even suggested that to my parents 20 years ago.


Auntie Appalled

Dear Aunt,

When you ask about getting through to 20-year-olds today, you’re making a broad generalization. So let’s just focus on your niece. I understand you’re frustrated.

While you can certainly let her know that you would like her to speak to you in a more respectful way, it will not help your relationship if you tell her how much you disapprove of her new living arrangements. If her parents are not happy about the boyfriend moving in, they can certainly tell their daughter how they feel.

Because feelings are involved, moving in with a love interest to ease financial stress confuses two issues. It’s clear to me that your niece is trying to force her parent’s hand, so if she cares about her boyfriend, a more responsible alternative would be to take a roommate — and it might even be fun. Have the conversation.

Take care,


Leah Albert is a fictitious character. She likes wine and writing. Don’t ask her to be a matchmaker. Do send her your questions to Leah at