I come from a small, religious rural community with lifetime friendships.
I’ve had good examples of strong marriages. While divorce does happen, it’s much rarer here than the national average of 40%.
However, while I cherish these strong roots, it’s often unheard of for a female in my community to be married at the old age of 25. In the last three generations of my family, three out of every four girls, including my mother, have been married at age 18 (or even 17).
I’ve recently started a nursing program and have received a lot of pressure from friends and family to settle down with my boyfriend of ten months.
I’m 19, and still want to see more of the world before I have a family. How do I respond to this?
Cat Lady, in Texas
Believe in yourself, and respond confidently that you’re not ready to settle down.
Focus on your nursing program, which will give you purpose, skills, and opportunities to see other places and lifestyles while doing worthwhile work.
Assure your parents and closest people that you still honour the faith and values you’ve grown up with, but that you believe you have time for more learning about the world, and strength of character not to be damaged.
Instead, you’ll be better informed to contribute and eventually raise children in a vastly changing global environment.
Explain to your boyfriend that you do care about him, and he should also use this time to broaden his horizons.
The goal is to keep growing, not to cave to others’ fears.
My husband’s grandmother is 88. Shortly after her husband died 18 months ago, her eldest daughter (my mother-in-law) asked if Grandma wanted her to be Power of Attorney.
Grandma said yes. My MIL is POA for both property and for medical. There were no restrictions. Now, my MIL pays all the bills, has bank statements sent directly to her, demands receipts from Grandma regarding anything she spends. She speaks for her at all doctors’ appointments.
Grandma is now afraid to change things. She’s talked to a lawyer to restrict her daughter's access to accounts and the money. But the lawyer said she’d have to cancel the POA and start over.
She has five children... one lives out of town, two are cowed by the eldest daughter, and the youngest is constantly at odds with the eldest.
We desperately need a mediator so that the eldest daughter understands that she’s doing a good job, but needs to let Grandma have control, not her.
When Grandma sees her eldest daughter, she has anxiety and gets really upset.
As the DIL, I want to help my Grandmother deal with this mess, but I have to live with the MIL for years ahead.
Your husband should be actively discussing this with his siblings, and insisting together on hiring a legal mediator who specializes in POA cases.
This isn’t the first situation whereby a well-meaning relative has taken on too much power and is intimidating the elderly person.
And, if starting over with a new document is the best process, so be it.
Meanwhile, someone has to talk to MIL about her behaving too controlling, and the negative effect this has on an older person’s sense of independence and well being.
You can help your MIL understand that she wouldn’t want her own life overtaken years from now. But don’t take the lead, or you’ll end up being seen as the Bad DIL.
I'm 12. A long-ago friend sat next to me in Art Class. We talked to each other, since we’d barely seen each other for years.
Another friend told everyone that I “like” this girl. This is still being said, ever since November, though I repeatedly say it’s not true.
Another of my closest friends has been extremely mean to me. He insults everything I do, whether it’s actually good or not. He ignores me when I'm talking, and whispers about me with other friends.
I have many classes with these friends, so it’d be hard to just stop being friends.
This annoying, repetitive behavior by a group of so-called friends, is bullying. You may not agree, but it’s been bothering you for months and can affect your schoolwork and self-confidence.
You’re smart and self-protective to reach out for advice. Tell your parents, and your teachers. The “friends” need to know you won’t accept bullying.
Tip of the day:
Plan your future around your goals and dreams, not other people’s worries and fears.