What do you do when you have a sibling is different in a not so good way? The one who can’t be termed obedient? Is “Obedient” even the right word to use? A lot of us would be termed “stubborn” if we are to go by this yardstick, so let’s stick with “different”. I don’t mean physically. And no, I am not talking about the ones who would not be silenced by discipline. I certainly don’t mean academically or mentally because judging from report cards or interactions with other people, there was no remarkable difference. Yes, there was always the obstinacy but it was assumed that it was just a child being a child. But adolescence kicked in and the obstinacy did not stop. In fact, it blossomed. It went as far as intentionally skipping school and failing classes even when the child in question is aware of the consequences. Still, parents would hope that it was the issues that came with adolescence. That people who was difficult during their teens outgrew the behaviour and turned out to be pretty decent adults. This was not the case.
It is much easier when you are all kids. The talk of being responsible does not arise at this point so it never goes past the exchange of one or many pleasant words and not talking for a few days in the worst-case scenario. But when adulthood sets in and you have shit to carry, I mean terrible shit to carry, how do you help someone do that? There are some people whose loyalty to family comes first and I think it is hardest for them because they rarely say “No”. Talk about an extra limb. Then imagine having to deal with such a sibling who feels entitled to your help. Some would ask if it would not eventually come to blows. How do you properly fight a parasite? I don’t know how but I do know you would need all the help you can get.
Would dialogue help? A lot of folks do not understand polite conversation in issues like this. “Black tax” has been around for a long time and has come to be seen a normal instance for a lot of people. It is going to take moving some mountains for people to accept that receiving help from others should be seen as a gift. Others include family members as well.
The best bet here would be to allow the world teach this sibling to become responsible. If one won’t learn by listening, experience would be the best teacher. Telling them that no further help can be rendered and the family would always be there with open arms when they decide to level up. But how do you watch your parents go through the pain they feel watching their children destroy their lives?
The truth is not always comfortable but it takes us where we need to go.
May our truths come with consequences that can be borne with great joy.
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Halimah is a firm believer that the education and empowerment of women are essential tools for lasting peace and progress in our society and that women should be allowed to pursue whatsoever path they choose. Born and raised in Nigeria, she has been described as "outspoken,energetic and diligent". Her passion for social change has led her to volunteer at a number of organizations that are passionate about having a tangible impact on society. Halimah currently works as an Assistant lecturer at the Department of Library and Information Technology,Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria. She hopes to establish a mentoring program to provide young girls and women with proper guidance to make informed choices aimed at personal fufillment. She relaxes by reading and watching movies.