Dear Nana Ama, I am 14 years old and a student. I live with my elder brother and his wife, and I usually try to please them in all things.
I do all household chores you can think of – I scrub, wash, cook and wash their cars.
Yet, my sister-in-law is not pleased with me and does not appreciate anything I do for her. She has not given me anything since I started living with them, but sometimes complain I do not help her at all.
What disturbs me most is that she would not allow my friends to visit me at home and when some do call on me, she asks me not to serve them water from her refrigerator.
They should neither be entertained in my room nor in the living room. Also, they should not call me on the telephone, and when some of them do, she becomes rude to them, so they have all boycotted me.
I’m unhappy at home, so I try to stay out as long as possible. Meanwhile, I have nowhere to go but it is clear I cannot continue to live with them.
I am unable to concentrate on my studies. What should I do?
Your case is rather unfortunate because it appears the more you try to please your sister-in-law, the more dissatisfied she becomes with you.
I will suggest that instead of going out of your way to undertake household chores, you should try and ask her exactly what sort of chores she wants you to do in the house. This way, you will be doing what she likes and she would appreciate it. But don’t neglect other chores you are expected to do.
If you try this approach and the relationship still remains unchanged, try and have a chat with your brother to see if the two of you can be reconciled with each other. Your brother can also try and find out what the problem really is.
Again, your friends are no friends after all, because as the saying goes ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’. Just let them be and don’t let that discourage you from making new friends.
However, I would like you to search yourself as well as those you associate with. It could also be that you are not being serious with your books. I am sure your brother will help, so do not keep him out of the picture.
Be a good girl.