Agony Aunt: Am afraid of how my brother will cope with my departure

A brother’s blues

My younger brother and I have got along very well for a very long time. Since my parents are always working, it is usually only us in the house on weekdays. However, I am soon leaving for university in another country and am afraid of how my brother will cope with my departure. He has been very moody since he found out and keeps telling me not to go. I heard him cry in his room the night that I told him I was leaving. I don’t know how I can help him and am afraid that my parents will completely neglect him. What should I do?

- I understand your concern for your brother as you both have formed a strong bond over the years in the absence of your parents. Distance is going to be inevitable when you move abroad for studies and its impact on your brother that’s bothering you is also inevitable. However, focusing on gradually sensitising your brother of your distance can be the first step here. Also rope in your parents and discuss with them about your fear of them not being around for your brother so that all of you can together brainstorm for a smoother transition.

Miss Sidelined

My best friend and I have had a very strong relationship for the last three years. Recently, another girl has joined our group and my best friend has been getting very close to her and neglecting me a lot. During conversations, it is mostly them talking and I can barely say anything. I have told her that I feel very left out, and she promised to include me more, but nothing has changed. The new girl keeps making plans with her and not calling me. I feel very alone and sad. Please help.

- The fact that you have realised that you are feeling a certain way because of the way others are behaving with you is in itself a start point to overcome this situation. You have already spoken to your friend and expressed your concerns and there hasn’t been any change that you noticed. I understand that the behaviour could be quite hurtful when you have established a close connection with someone. This however could also be an opportunity for you to form new relations, explore the possibilities of being able to enjoy and being happy without you having to rely on others.

On teacher’s target

My teacher has been targeting me and constantly scolding me during class. She always says I’m not paying attention and am slacking, even though I am trying my best and always finish her assignments in time. She is nice to all the other students except for me. I have even been held back after class and scolded badly once over my ‘snark’ attitude. It has gotten to the point where I do not even look forward to going for the classes any more. Is there anything I can do?

- I gather that you have been badly affected by the way your teacher is behaving with you. You could begin by speaking to the school authorities to intervene as its affecting your decision to attend classes and emotionally taking a toll as well. This intervention can help both of you put forth individual views about the class exchange and also find a way out. It will also help establish a dialogue between the two of you with a neutral party involved thus ensuring a non-confrontational exchange.

Music over ‘medicine’

My university applications are going to be sent soon, and my parents are insistent on me pursuing a job in medicine. However, I am much more interested in pursuing a job in music. I chose the science stream in junior college to please my parents but I have been attending piano classes without their knowledge for three years now. They are very determined that I become a doctor and have always been critical of jobs in the creative fields. I am very scared to face them. Is there any way to change their minds?

- The fact that you have managed to pursue your interest as well as your parents simultaneously shows your dedication and determination towards music. This is exactly what you can convey to your parents in order to help them understand you better. Giving them a certain idea about your way forward can help them envision this better.

They are functioning from the space of concern which might be perceived to be lack of understanding. Rather than aiming at changing their minds, working towards creating awareness in them can be beneficial. Fearing their reactions would deter you from talking to them thus postponing an important discussion. MINDTEMPLE