Q: I’m concerned about a photo my uncle posted to Facebook. It features my two female cousins, ages 6 and 2, shirtless. I know no harm was intended in posting the photo, as they are both adorable girls. However, I find it inappropriate that the 6-year-old, who is going into first grade, was shirtless in the photo. Now that it is on the internet, it could be easily seen by a pedophile.
How do I express my concern to my uncle about this without coming off like I am trying to parent for him? I’m only 17 and don’t want to overstep my boundaries, but as a caring family member, I am concerned. — Niece in Colorado
A: Because you are nervous about approaching your uncle about this, consider discussing your concerns with the children’s mother. If your uncle is a single parent, then mention it to your own parents and, if they agree with you, ask them to mention to your uncle that his semi-nude pictures on the web may endanger his daughters.
P.S. Your uncle should be made aware that he can customize his account settings and make his profile private. That way, only family and selected close friends will be able to see his timeline.
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Q: My neighbor is taking care of her grandchildren. She seems responsible, and the courts have allowed her to be their foster mother. Her own children not only steal, but are also physically abusive. The court ordered the mother of the kids (my neighbor’s daughter) to have no contact with them. Their father is in prison.
I am friendly with this neighbor and her grandchildren. I wish I had a way to tell her that her constant shouting and screaming at the kids is unhealthy. How can I help this family and these little ones? Should I just come out and say what’s on my mind — that yelling at them undermines their self-esteem and does no good whatsoever? — Kind Neighbor in Michigan
A: Have a chat with your neighbor about it, if you can manage it without coming across as judgmental (i.e., accusing her of “undermining their self-esteem”). When you do, tell her you know she is carrying a lot of responsibility on her shoulders and she may be yelling because she’s stressed. Then offer to watch the grandchildren for her once or twice a month, so she can have some quiet time for herself. If you do, you would be doing her and her grandchildren a great favor.
Q: I’m 28 and have been a licensed practical nurse since 2007. Although I’ve been a nurse for nine years, I feel incompetent and like I haven’t learned much over the years. I pray every day I go to work that no serious situations arise because I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle them correctly. Many people have suggested I further my education and become an RN, but I feel it would be a waste because I don’t feel smart enough. What should I do? — Wary in Ohio
A: I think you should challenge yourself and take some of those classes to further your education. If you do well in them, continue. If not, you can look for another line of work then.
However, before you do anything else, please talk with a licensed mental health professional to get to the reasons for your low self-esteem. Those feelings of inadequacy may be what are holding you back and preventing you from enjoying the important work you do.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.