I do not know how to say no
Q I am tired of being pushed around by others, but I am not sure how to say no. I am a college student and in another parish, away from my family. They think I must accept the multiple recommendations they make and, like Superman, I do them all. I must admit that I am bright, but I do not want to do medicine, which is what they want me to do. I am doing great in another field, information technology, but my dad supports me with a heavy heart as he thinks medicine is the best thing ever. I want to tell my family to stop bugging me, but I have no other financial support. What do I do?
I am happy that you are enjoying the field of study that you are interested in. One of the things that you can do is to educate your family about the potential of information technology, and even make them aware of how medical professionals are largely using information technology in the field of medicine. You can start with family members who are more likely to listen to you. Encourage them to maximise the use of their cellphones and computers so they can start to learn more about the field of information technology, as you are doing. Keep on getting good grades so that your family will be encouraged.
Q A gentleman of another culture is interested in marrying my daughter. She is 21 and is in the final year of college. He is 25 and a nice person, but we are Christians of one faith and he is of another faith. We have visited his country but the social behaviours are different and I felt almost like a second-class citizen when we visited many years ago. He says things have changed. She is very much in love and not listening to my advice.
Encourage her to visit the country and read as much as she can on the cultural issues before she decides to get married. Encourage them to participate in premarital counselling, with a special focus on the different religious belief systems that they have. Continue to pray that she will make the right decision.
Q I now know that my mother was mentally ill when she died. It was such a big secret. She had dementia. I think my older brother has it, but no one wants to take him to the doctor. I am only sixteen years old and am not able to do so. They keep on saying he is just bad, but I think it is more than that.
In the past, you did not speak about mental-health issues. People did not want anyone to know that family members had mental-health problems. Dementia is a syndrome in which areas of brain function may be affected, such as memory, language, problem solving and attention span. In the later stages of dementia, the person may not know what day of the week, month or year it is, he may not know where he is, and might not be able to identify the people around him. Dementia is more common among elderly people.
However, it can affect adults of any age. The person with dementia may become increasingly moody as parts of the brain that control emotion become damaged. Moods may also be affected by fear and anxiety, as the person who is demented may be frightened about what is happening to him. Show your family members this response and encourage them to take your brother to the doctor. A psychiatrist should be able to prescribe medication can help him. If the family waits until it is too late, he may be incurable.
Orlean Brown Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.