Dear Not Raised Ghetto,
All families have challenges and all families have members that fall to the way side but the best thing we can do...is not run away from them but include them in our life and lifestyle. You were blessed to leave and were exposed to bigger and better so you are bigger and better, and expect bigger and better. The change you want to see in your family begins with you. Don’t leave them alone but keep them in the fold so they can remember who they are and see all they can be.
If your cousin is not dressed appropriately, say so. Speak up! Tell her “girl you looked a hot mess in that.” All she can do is either laugh or cuss you out but at least she still heard you. Better yet, bring her something to wear to replace what she had on and then tell her, “Now you can throw that mess away you had on the other day.” and laugh Remember, you are not trying to make a new friend, you are family and family should help mold and encourage each other. “Iron sharpens iron” You are both iron. If you do not like something, say it! If she is too loud say shhh, you too loud . She may get mad but if she loves you like you seem to think and your relationship is strong, she will accept your comments with love.
As far as her children are concerned, you and your family are the village. If they are failing, that means you all are failing. We are our brothers keeper. Stop waiting on the kids to come to you and go to them. However, when you go, come bearing gifts. Children do not care what you think unless they think you care. My aunts and uncles always came with something for us and we were always excited to see them coming. It was usually was a 50-cent piece or a couple of dollars, sometimes a piece of jewelry or a coin purse. Nothing expensive, but something that showed that they cared and were thinking about us. So when you see her children, hug them, give them a compliment and a bit of encouragement. When someone is messing up, they know it. Let them know what you are expecting from them. In other words, pump dreams into them like your grandma did you. Be patient, and do it with love...