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My brother started having kids at an early age. Him and his long time girlfriend started a family so soon, I was an aunt by the time I was 8 years old. He is 36 years old now and he has eight children. 

I grew up with three brothers, so I can only imagine having seven siblings - five sisters and two brothers. 

My first niece was born into a family willing to spoil the heck out of her. From the start, she was the center of attention. A little too much center of attention, if you'd ask 8-year-old me. She loved it, all the love anyone could have from all the family members. I believe she got used to it, being the center of it all. It started changing when my brother's family started expanding. He's now at eight children and my now 14-year-old niece is the oldest. 

Since I've moved to Austin, I haven't seen much of her. She's made family news lately, though. The attention she once loved, is now missing and she started resenting her surroundings. 

It's unfortunate that her need for attention has lead her to seek, beg for her parents attention. My niece started cutting herself.

The first time I heard about it, I couldn't believe it. I wish I could talk to her and listen to whatever she has to say. Her parents are separated and she moved away with her siblings and mom. I'm not all that positive that she's getting the attention she wants. She's mentioned to my mom and my brother that she's unhappy away from her hometown. She says she finds herself feeling unhappy enough to cut herself. 

I wish I could understand her more. I don't want to assume that she's doing this for attention, but I can only imagine what the oldest of a big family must feel like. I also consider the fact that her parents aren't together and that she has different holidays. She's also in middle school and I remember how middle school can feel like the worst experience of a 14-year-old's life. 

There are so many factors that could lead my niece to cut herself more. I've let her know before how I am always willing to listen. 

It's difficult to talk to her because her mom tries to keep her distance from my brother and his family.

I read a blog post that reminded me of her and I thought about how much I miss my nieces and all the insight I can give them. They're growing up and starting to become individuals. 

My niece is smart, pretty, and a great girl. I just wish she could remind herself of that. 

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