My younger brother suffers from a chronic illness that affects him daily. He’s almost always in physical discomfort. It makes it difficult for him to go into an office setting, go out for dinner or to an event, and even to have a relationship.
He’s very bright, fun, sporty and has lots of friends. As a teenager, he worked through it – fought through it – so he could live as normally as possible. His friends were understanding and helpful.
But now his friends are all in relationships, doing couple things, working “real” jobs, and moving forward in their lives. He’s having a hard time keeping up and I feel it’s getting him down.
How can I help my brother manage his problem and have a healthy, fulfilling adult life?
You can help your brother by doing some research on his illness and finding out how other children have lived and grown up with the same affliction. Show him what you’ve found, and ask him if he’d like your help.
Tell him that you want him to have the best life ever and you want to help him achieve that any way you can. Then help him make a plan. Together you two will figure out the ins and outs of his illness, his limitations, and possibilities.
Good luck to both of you. You’re lucky to have each other.
My son, in his early 30s, has had a nice life with only the best of everything. We sent him to the best private schools, which gave him the education to attend one of the best universities in the world. He was bright, worked hard, and graduated with honours in Engineering.
He got a great job, was making his own money, living at home and saving. He seemed happy and on the right track for a fulfilling life.
Recently, my mother-in-law passed away, and left my son a small inheritance. We thought he would save it to help buy a house later, when his next phase of life started. Instead, he quit his job and bought a fixer-upper.
The money left to him was not enough for him to live off, certainly not if he used the bulk of it to buy a property. The rest won’t cover the cost of material for fixing the house.
I’m not sure what my son is thinking but my husband is apoplectic about our son’s sudden lack of ambition. He’s now refusing to work, and my husband is refusing to speak with him.
I understand your husband’s frustration. He feels that everything he did for your son was for naught.
But that’s not true.
Your son may just need a break from the spinning wheel of life. He was on track from day one, thanks to you and everything you gave him, and he was successful. But maybe it wasn’t enough to light his soul on fire.
This small windfall has opened a door for him and he’s breaking free. Let him do his own thing. Easier said than done, I know. But he’s still young enough to have this “blip” in life. Really, only three things can happen: he can find his passion and live his own life successfully; he can enjoy this break and then go back to what he knows best; or, he can get lost and suffer from his poor choices.
I know the last option is the worst, but you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help. He needs you to let him take this time. Support him emotionally, not financially. Give your husband time to accept what’s happening.
I have a feeling they’ll both be fine.
FEEDBACK Regarding the mom worried about her daughter’s future (March 9):
Reader – “As a teenager in the late 1960s, I was one of those girls who rolled my long pleated private school skirt up. We weren't creative enough to turn our blouses into crop tops, but we generally tried to do anything to feel a bit cooler in our uniforms. All kids who wear a uniform try to make it look ‘cooler.’
“It's not a whole lot of fun as a teen to be out in public in a conservative school uniform. I would suggest that if students are going to school and getting good grades, how they wear their uniform is just a creative expression of fitting in; not really anything to be worried about.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the daughter thinking her father doesn’t like her (March 6):
Reader - “I also immediately jumped to health issues. Two potential issues come to mind: early-stage dementia and hearing loss.”