■ By RITA AGGARWAL (Consulting Psychologist)
Q1: My brother is in Class 10. He does not study at all, rather goes out whole day with some bad boys. He keeps our mother’s phone all the time with him and does not give it back to her. He back-answers, uses abusive words, does not listen to parents. So many arguments take place between my mom and him.Whenever this happens, I get stressed out. Sometimes, I start crying and over-react at times.I don’t understand what to do. My mother calmly tries to make him understand, but he uses bad words to her. This is very depressing for me. I am MBBS 2nd year student, and also have to pursue my studies and life. Please help.
A: Your family is facing a genuine problem. Your mother’s approach to stay calm and try to explain things to your brother appears a good way of handling things. For, if she loses her cool and reacts strongly, your brother may start behaving in a more wayward manner. You have mentioned that your brother does not listen to parents. But there is no specific mention about how your father handles the situation. Has he tried to take control of things in his hands? Has he tried to take the boy to task? In many families, fathers stay aloof and leave things to mothers to take care of wayward kids. This results into further worsening of the situation. It would be a good idea for your father to start taking control of things and direct the boy to behave well. Yet another way would be for your family to seek a professional help in tackling the waywardness of the boy. I have a word of advice for you. You appear to be a sensitive and sensible girl. It is only natural that your brother’s bad behaviour affects you. But since you are in medical college, your studies are very important, and so you should try to remain as calm as possible. First take care of yourself. Good luck to you.
Darryl N.G. Q2: Our family faces a typical problem. We are three brothers and I am the youngest. I got married two years ago and have a wonderful son who makes my wife and me very happy. Both of us work in different places and have to stay away from home for at least 8-10 hours, leaving our son at home. Unfortunately, there is no one except my old mother to care for the child. My sisters-in-law are at home, but expect my wife to keep everything ready for the child for the whole day before going for work. When she returns in the evening, everybody expects her to do everything at home, including cooking for dinner. This is creating a very stressful situation for us. I try to help, but have my limitations. How do I sort this out?
A: Yes, this is a typical family problem, and there is no easy way out of it. Having an open but polite talk with your elder brothers and mother may help to an extent. You can also engage your sisters-inlaw in discussion so that they will share at least some part of the work at home. It appears that they are home-makers. If that is the case, things should not be difficult for them, if you and your wife are able to convince the family that sharing burden is the best way of being in a joint family. If that approach does not work, then you and your wife may have to take some tough decision, which I hope you may do well to avoid.
Note: Readers are requested to write short queries in approx 150 to 200 words. Furthermore, do not use abbreviations in career queries to avoid confusion. The columnist can be reached at [email protected]