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Family Love/hate relationship with your sister in law? Situation with your Mom? Plenty of things to talk about here.

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Old 08-06-2005, 02:16 PM
LaTraviata's Avatar
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Advice Needed

My cousin, "Sally Mae," is entering her lasst year of middle school. In one year, she'll be entering high school. This is where the problem occurs.

Her entire life, she was a part of the private school system. Her high school will also be private but being one city over, it will also be full of a new type of crowd. I'd like to prepare her for this new crowd the best way I can. And while all children are made fun of, to some extent, she will be an easy target.

Sally Mae is an only child and her mother had an inability to say no. Anything she wanted, as a child, she was bought. In her teenage years, this is still true. She doesn't shower, often, but when she does, she doesn't use shampoo but dish washing soap which leaves an oily, frizzy look to her hair. Her clothes policy is: if there is any way I can squeeze into something, that means it fits. As a result, she buys what ever is "cute." Shoes three sizes too big so she must shuffle her feet across the floor to keep them on. Skirts too small, she has to wear them below her very robust stomach, belly shirts, both of which she wears in an unflattering manner (she keeps her legs wide open in short skirts, unaware that people can see all her God-given secrets), and she doesn't clean underneath her finger nails.

Somehow she has survived school, until now. She seems unaware that some clothes are too big, too small, and that neat appearances are important. Her school has never gotten involved and her mother doesn't see a problem with this.

I'm all for childhood individually, dark clothes, pale makeup, mohawks, and body art but this is not a style. How can I approach the situation without insulting my family but while saving my cousin so that her high school years will be full of fond memories and not shameful ones? I have friends at the high school she will be attending and this school is infamous for bullying.
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Old 08-11-2005, 04:34 PM
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My goodness, that's a tough one and, quite honestly, I don't really have any advice but I hope she willl start to care more about her appearance as she gets older.

I DID, however, want to welcome you to the Family Corner!! We are glad you are here!! Let us know more about yourself, where you are from, your family, etc, whatever you want to share.

take care, trainlady
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Old 08-12-2005, 05:14 AM
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I just wanted to say "welcome" to you also!
My advice would be to make a friend with her. Once you gain her trust, maybe she will let you help her. My guess is that she will really need a friend. Other kids can sometimes be harsh. Hope that helps some.
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Old 08-13-2005, 09:51 AM
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I would have to say, unfortunately, I think your cousin is going to have to endure some teasing at the very least in order for her to realize where she is falling short especially if she doesn't have that sort of guidance from her mother. I think no matter how nicely you say it, if her mom won't teach her how to dress and bathe then you saying something would be seen as an intrusion. I agree with the previous post, maybe if you befriend her she may learn from you and be more willing to take suggestions.
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Old 08-13-2005, 09:57 AM
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First of all, welcome to FC.

I don't know how close you are to this cousin. Whether or not you say anything to her depends on how close you are to her and if you and her share other personal things. However, if you are not EXTREMELY close to her, I would not even say a word. Be a good friend to her and open the lines of communication. Then, if she asks you, you'll be there for her and can be open and honest. If you say anything to her and you aren't extremely close--what you say could be taken the wrong way.

Good luck!
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Old 08-13-2005, 09:59 AM
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You're right, a big part of the problem is that no one has told her NO yet.

One issue that you haven't mentioned is whether she has friends where she is now.

Also, how do you fit into all this, in terms of age and the family tree? Are you adult or high-school-age? I think that is important in terms of what you can get away with saying or doing and how you say or do it.

Ran
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Old 08-13-2005, 10:45 AM
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i think that for some cases showing pictures or a video how silly she looks with those clothes would help her a bit. maybe she could go to beauty salon (give her a gift certificate to go with you or smth) and they would tell her how to take care of her hair and nails and skin. if money is no problem they will help her. (comment from a proffessional like "your hair is pretty but a oily type, you shoud use that nad that product to make it prettier" might be a huge help)
if she is overweight maybe she would like a gift certificate to a sports club with you or or mom or one of her friends who is sporty. i would think that ugly pictures "accidentally" taken of her would work the best to motivate her. doesnt she have an idol? maybe u could help her to make her look like her idol a bit (haircare, skincare, clothes, body, healthy food etc).
and most important is to teach her mom to say NO.
i know that this post may sound harsh but sometimes harsh is effective
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:34 AM
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Oh, dear! It sounds to me as if it's more than she has not just been never told no, she's not been taught some very important concepts. She needs to learn good personal hygiene, and nutrition, and some other basic self-care things (which would include how to dress appropriately). There's much more here than just not being told, "no."

Frankly, it sounds like a general lack of discipline for the child, and she is the one who is going to suffer... not just in high school, either. You must ask yourself how involved you want to be with this. If you are willing to befriend this child, and you sound like you are, God bless you. You must be very brave. The first thing you must do, honestly, is be her friend... go out for soda, go to the movies, invite her to your house and show her your highschool year books. Talk about high school and your experiences, and find out what her dreams and goals are. If she doesn't have any (and she may not), then help her to find some.

It sounds to me like she has low self esteem, and is dressing to attract attention. She may think she looks more attractive in tighter clothes, but perhaps a shopping (not buying) trip to the mall will show her otherwise. It may also be that age appropriate clothes don't come in her size and she's cramming herself into these things... try Lane Bryant or other larger size stores if that's true. She just wants to look like everyone else. You'll have to get "inside her head" to find out why she's doing this.

If she doesn't have discipline at home, she'll have to develop self discipline, and she may not know how. Also, love means saying, "no" and every child knows that, somewhere inside. My heart goes out to both of you! Best of luck...
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Old 08-13-2005, 11:52 AM
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I would say that you could befriend this gal - It sounds so sad that a mother would not teach her child basic hygiene. Maybe there is a problem that is bigger than lack of discipline?? I wonder how she got along at the private school - I can't imagine a teacher(s) not taking an interest....do you have any history?
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Old 08-13-2005, 12:53 PM
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First I commend you for being so concerned and caring about your cousin. Now Im assuming you are already in high school? I too was wondering how old you were, and I agree with getting her a gift certificate to have her nails and hair done, or better yet make it a fun day for the 2 of you, and ask her to join you, if you have any hairdressing schools nearby you can do this for alot less money than if you went to a reg salon, Im not too sure of the financial situation, but it can be costly at salons. Even alot of Walmarts now have a nail and salon, in them, you can even get pedicures. I think once she feels good about how she looks as far as hair, make up etc., she than will want to dress better.

Good luck and let us know how she makes out.
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