Dear Aunty Pat

Dear Aunty Pat,

I have two daughters aged 12 and 14. They are really different from each other. It was not so marked when they were younger, but now in their rebellious teens, it is very difficult to manage them. To give you a few examples, one is very outgoing and has numerous friends, while the other has a select few. Then one wants to dress according to the current fashion, and the other is really very conservative. The problem arises not so much at home but in school and with society in general. This is when they are compared and contrasted, criticized and complimented. It has reached a stage where they are constantly at loggerheads, especially after one of the teachers asked “which one of you is adopted?’ Please tell me what to do about this situation, as I am just trying to be a good mother to the both of them. I’m confident you will come up with a solution and I’m waiting for your response,

Worried Mum.

Dear Worried Mum,

First of all, this teacher is totally out of line to make a statement like this. You should speak to her and explain to her that she’s only adding fuel to the fire. Ask her to please be cautious about what she says even in jest, and you will have to tell her that they are constantly being compared. If she is a reasonable person she will accept that it was wrong of her. If there are further incidents like this, you might have to report her to a higher authority. Then you have to speak to both your girls firmly and tell them that they are siblings and therefore irrevocably connected to each other. You should say they have to stand up for each other and respect the fact that every human being has an individual personality and are not clones even if they are from the same family. Tell them when you and their father are no longer there, they will only have each other. Explain that you accept the fact they are different, and certain people just view their opinions which are not necessarily correct. So they should learn to take everything on the bump and respect each other as different individuals, but as sisters and build up a close relationship. Encourage them by inviting both sets of friends over at the same time and I’m sure they will mix together. I’m sure that will do the trick!

Aunty Pat.


My dear Aunty Pat,

I have a problem with my immediate neighbour who is also a good friend of mine. She lets her dog run outside their house and he always leaves us a gift right in front of our gate which we have to clean up. He wriggles in through our fence and comes and gobbles up my doggie’s food and generally creates a big uproar. I feel that my dog has got ticks from her dog too. It’s true the two dogs play together, but I’m always scared that her dog will harm my fellow. I don’t want to fall out with her, can you tell me how I can tactfully tell her to try and control her dog more? My maid is constantly grumbling that she has to clean up the mess her dog leaves behind.

L. J.

Dear L.J.,

All you have to do is somehow block up the places that the next door dog is entering through, then you can monitor his visits. You could jokingly mention that your girl is grumbling because of what he’s doing right in front of your gate, and maybe she can walk him elsewhere until he does the needful? You could buy some tick medicine and give it to her and say you got some for your dog too and you noticed hers was scratching furiously as well.
Keep the tone of the conversation light, then she can’t possibly take offence. It’s nice that they play together, so maybe you can arrange common walks with both dogs, so you can both go maybe to an open space where they could run around. This way, both humans and animals will benefit by the exercise! Hopefully, relations will improve and ill feelings vanish.

Aunty Pat.


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