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Relative has overstayed welcome


. . .Deadbeat dad not paying school fees

I am a 17-year-old girl and I am in Lower Sixth. My biological father left for South Africa when I was about four-years-old. At the time, my mother was pregnant with my other sibling. In total, we are three. My older sister is 21 and my younger sibling is 13. My father has never paid a cent towards our education and this pains me very much. My mother is employed as a teacher and she struggles to pay our fees. She is quiet and very religious.

When I ask my dad about paying fees, he becomes very hostile or ignores my messages altogether. Our paternal relatives have encouraged me to go stay with them and go to a rural school, but my mother is against this idea. How can I assist my struggling mother?


Hello dear writer and thanks for writing in. Your father is a deadbeat dad. I am not even sure how your parents marriage works. They have been living apart for about 13 years and he has not assumed any responsibility. It is a very sad story. The best way going forward would be to come up with solutions that do not involve him.

You are in Advanced Level, you can try to get part-time employment during the holidays and contribute towards your own upkeep. Is your 21-year-old sibling employed? I hope she is also contributing towards the upkeep of the family. I would also encourage you to study hard and apply for university scholarships. It would be one less burden on your mom.

Our mind is in the right place and your heart is big. Your mom is struggling but she continues to persevere. It is a blessing in itself that she is making ends meet. You could also advise her to appeal for assistance from your well-off relatives and those in the community. Something may come off it. For now, focus on school and ways to contain costs around the home. It will be well.


A relative has overstayed her welcome

I am a lady aged 36 and my husband is 37. We have been married for the past seven years. I am writing to you because my husband’s brother sent his child here to stay with us. She has been here since the lockdown started. I am feeling the financial strain of looking after an extra person in this economy. My husband and his brother are quiet on the matter. How best do I go about this? She even asked for her mother to send her winter clothes.


Your story is not unique but since it involves close family members it must be handled delicately. Your husband knows more than he is letting on. Decisions like this must be made collectively. Seven years of marriage count for nothing if you do not communicate effectively. Approach him and ask what his plans are for supporting this child and how long she intends to stay at your home.

Do not be confrontational but make him aware that you would want to be considered in making such big decisions in the future. This is a fairly simple problem to resolve, especially if your husband admits he is at fault. I wish you all the best.


Relationship with son under strain

I am a 60-year-old woman and I have two daughters with my husband. When I met him he already had a son and I cared and loved that child like my own. In 2003 his son got a girl pregnant and the girl’s mother dropped her at our doorstep. My stepson did not want to marry her.

I even advised that the mother take her daughter back in because she needed to finish school. She would not have it and my stepson was forced into marrying her. I left the issue to my husband and he accepted the terms set by the girl’s mother. I have had a rocky relationship with my stepson since. He is unemployed and recently moved back in with us.

He now has four children and does not get along with the wife. He claims she does not respect him and abuses the children in front of him. I am also now stuck with looking after all these people. How do I go about it? I love my husband.


As your case goes, there is a lot of blame going around and not a lot of solutions.

To state the obvious, your stepson started all of this, but we cannot cry over spilt milk. You and baba should have been more vocal in making sure your young son was protected. Making sure the girl finished school at her mother’s while you paid for the child and mother’s upkeep was a noble idea. We cannot cry over spilt milk now. Your stepson must not blame his parents for any of this because he started this whole saga himself.

Now there are four grandkids involved that need to be looked after.

I am glad you accepted them back in. Family needs to look out for each other. The frustrations probably stem from being unemployed and being unable to play his role as a father. Your stepson and daughter-in-law need urgent marital counselling to understand where they are in their union and what route to take going forward.

As for the upkeep of the children, you need to come together as a family and plot a way forward.

The majority of the people in this country are not formally employed. He is an able-bodied young man that needs a bit of capital to start projects to benefit the whole family.

It could be something as simple as a poultry or gardening project.

The idea is to not wait for major opportunities alone but try and generate income even from simple ideas.

It will not be easy, but he needs to start putting an effort. Last but not least, enjoy the time you get to spend as a family and minimise on the squabbling.

Tomorrow is never promised, so we must strive to enjoy each day as it comes. I wish you well.

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