When Signs Point to Warnings

Someone once told me, “Write what you feel and what you know. Share who you are, your experiences, what you believe, and outcomes of experiences. You do have a story to tell.” Well, today I am not telling a story of my own, instead, I am writing about something that I know a little bit about and some things I have noticed with a young relative and the parents that either aren’t involved enough to realize there’s an issue or have their hands tied and know not what to do for this situation. I don’t know which situation would be better for me to hope for. I just know I am the aunt and as an outsider that carpools the kids to school and takes teenagers shopping, I have seen some warning signs. I have discussed them with my young relative all to be smirked at or told, “Everything is ok, I love him Auntie.”

The past few weeks, my niece has been talking about joining the military so she and her boyfriend could be together. The recruiters have told her there are programs that will keep them together if they are married. She’s contemplating marrying him so that she and this boy can be together. Don’t get me wrong; I am all for young love, but there’s something about the fellow she is dating that sends out warning flags: (1). He has issues with my sons taking their cousin to school in their car. (2). He has prevented her from making friends with girls and boys her age (3). has become a wedge between her family —more so than in some ‘typical’ teenage relationships (4). gets mad at her for wearing dresses to school (5) has friends that ‘spy’ and report on her actions at school. Just these few things tell me that he is controlling. I worry for her.

I have tried to talk to her. She laughs it off. She knows more than I do. I mean, after all, she’s a teenager.

Talking with her parents are like talking to teenagers themselves; they just don’t seem to get the importance of her being independent and see any issues with this boy.

It’s a hard place for me to be…an outsider looking in. I fear for her. I fear she’s going to give up her dreams of being a veterinarian. She’s going to put up with controlling and horrible behavior. She’s going to stay with a relationship because she doesn’t want anyone to say those dreaded words, “I told you so.” I fear for the live she is going to live closed off from people or fights if she does decide to have a girl’s night out.

Anyone out there have ideas to talk to her AND her parents so that they realize this is a huge issue?


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