Q: I’m afraid something is wrong with my younger brother. He just turned 13, and he has become violent and angry. Before, he used to tease me and our sister once in a while, but now it’s becoming an everyday thing. If we tease him back, he gets mad and starts yelling.
He directs most of his anger at our younger sister and our mom, and he has started to push my mom. She’s worried that he might hurt one of us. If she confronts him when he gets out of hand, he starts yelling, “What? I didn’t do anything!” Then later, he’ll come back and try to push or kick her. I have noticed that he talks to himself, too.
We don’t know what to do. We hear how kids sometimes harm their families. I’m afraid for my mom and my sister, and also for my brother. I love him and want to help him. — Afraid in Arizona
A: If you want to help your brother, talk to your mother about getting professional help for your brother NOW, before he hurts someone. He should be evaluated to determine whether his problem is anger management or the onset of a mental illness. His pediatrician can refer her to a licensed mental health professional. If he doesn’t have a pediatrician, the county department of mental health can suggest someone.
Q: Our boss has a new car with a hands-free phone feature. However, she has told us in the past that she’s not a very good driver and becomes distracted easily. When she calls us while she’s driving, how do we diplomatically tell her to hang up and drive? — Concerned Staff
A: Your boss’ safety is your job security. Say it to her face, and not while she’s driving.
Q: I have terminal cancer and a five- to seven-year life expectancy, despite undergoing intense chemotherapy. I have accepted this and will not undergo further treatment. I eagerly await death.
I am divorced with two grown daughters who despise each other and have vowed to never associate with each other again. Therefore, I cannot look forward to family outings or get-togethers. I am forced to choose who to be with for each occasion.
I recently bought a T-shirt that says: “In Memory of When I Cared.” When strangers see it, they laugh and say I truly can’t mean that, but they are wrong. When I tell them this is how I truly feel, they say they will “pray for me.” I understand why they feel compelled to say that, but I don’t want anyone praying for me unless they pray for my death. How should I handle this? — Contented With Diagnosis
A: I’m sorry for your diagnosis and for the fact that your daughters cannot get along, even to give you comfort as your end approaches.
That said, when someone wears a T-shirt with a message on it, it usually invites questions. In your case, a logical question would be, “Cared about WHAT?” When you respond that you no longer care about living, the person will feel uncomfortable and try to say something positive. Unless you want to invite a long discussion, handle it by saying thank you.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.