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     Volume 7 Issue 32 | August 8, 2008 |

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Write to Mita

Dear Mita,
I'm a Masters student. In our needy family, my mother is the de facto caretaker and my father is a worthless sort of man. In the last 14 years, he has not had one job. Not a single member of the family likes him. Everyone is happier when he is out at the market or anywhere else. His presence makes us difficult to freely move around the house. We never enjoy the love and affection of a father for his children. He always rules us like a dictator, and for silly things, physically beats my younger siblings. He even brutally tortures my mother, a woman over 50, both physically and mentally. With the help of my older relatives, I tried to stop it but the biggest problem is that he doesn't care for anyone and is hell bent on his own stance. We all feel helpless around him. This has a negative influence on our lives, especially on my tender-aged siblings. We all want to get rid of this and just want a happy family including him. But how?

Dear Deprived,
This is a serious problem and I totally sympathise with you. However, someone has to take a stand against his tyranny. People like him are basically cowards. They will bow down to strength or force. You should just let him know that his behaviour will no longer be tolerated and if he ever beats your mother or siblings ever again then you will call the police or report him to the authorities and file a case against him under the repression of women and children law. I know this is very extreme but I think you do not have any other alternative. Be firm, respectful, warn him once or twice, then just do it.

Dear Mita,
I am the only son of my parents. They love me very dearly as I do them. But my mother has become a bit difficult recently. She wants me to get married and also convinced my father that I should get married. I'm just doing my Honours and I've tried my best to make my parents understand that I want to pursue my career but they are unyielding. My mother has fallen ill after my refusal and her condition is worsening by the day. Now I'm in a fix as to what I should do -- to marry or not to marry? Please advise.

Dear A,
Marriage is a big commitment and should not be done in haste nor due to pressure. You should ask someone to explain to your mother that she is making an unreasonable demand on you. At the same time, try to convince her that you will get married eventually but at a time when you are ready. Meanwhile, do other things that make her happy. Be attentive and caring, take care of her health and convince her that she means a lot to you.

Dear Mita,
I'm a 40-year-old man. I'm married with no children. My father is pressuring me to start a family, but due to a medical condition, my wife and I are not able to have children. How can I deal with the problem of people badgering me about having children when it is physically not possible?

Dear Helpless,
This is a common problem of people not being sensitive to the health or other conditions of others. The best thing is to tell your father the truth. To others, just let them know that this is not their business and you will start a family when both of you are ready. You may think of adoption but that is totally your and your wife's decision.

Dear Mita,
I'm a mother of two and I think my older, 16-year-old daughter (the other is 10) might be on drugs. I'm not sure, but she seems to be hanging out with the wrong crowd. She comes home late at night and spends most of her time at home locked up in her room. Her grades are starting to fall, she doesn't have an appetite and is beginning to lose weight, I'm not sure whether on purpose or because of some influence. I've tried talking to her about it but you know how teens are, either avoiding the issue or vehemently resisting, telling me to leave her alone and not interfere in her life. My husband and I are really worried about her and have no idea what to do.
Helpless Mother

Dear Helpless Mother,
I know how teens are, I have raised two of them. First, open the communications door with your daughter. Somehow a distance has been created and you need to bridge it. Talk to her friends, the one you trust and try to get to the bottom of this. Ultimately you will have to convince you daughter to see a doctor. If you don't want to bring up the issue of drugs that is fine, tell her that her health is the reason. As you know there are many good drug rehabilitation centres that can help her but first she has to admit to the problem. Most importantly, be with her, support her and love her.

Write to Mita is published every other week on specific themes. For the next Mita column, readers are invited to send queries regarding marital problems.

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