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DEAL WITH THIS....

Source: Dr Tosin Akindele.
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You bring close to you a very poor family of eight...parents and six kids...all boys...having scant respect for their parents who cannot provide for them.

Father just lost job as an employee of a construction company. His kids report to me that their neighbours seek excuses to deride them as they run errands to obtain food items on credit. They used to "enjoy a lot prior to daddy's sack"! But now, they are often hungry.

"Mummy" has picked up a job after "Daddy" lost his. She now works as a cleaner in a private school. They pay her N5,000 per month!

The eldest is a 17-year old school dropout who also absconded from an apprenticeship as an auto mechanic. He readily picks up odd jobs in the neighborhood for peanuts briskly grabbed by his mother...to feed his juniors. He leaves home in the morning to fend for himself... somehow. He often beats up his younger ones, inflicting injuries on them. He fights both parents...physically and verbally... as enraged young fathers intervene to beat him up...in stout defense of his parents who often threaten him with arrest by the police and dumping him in"welfare"!

Number two is more on the docile side by comparison. If he must fight, he does so mainly in self defense against his bullying elder brother. He is generally more protective and more caring to his junior ones.

The third son a twelve-year old, just gained admission into junior high school...has a short attention span...is averse to learning and correction...but loves singing. He has a beautiful voice. He comes with an ample dose of aggression.

Number four is the most intelligent... but also the most temperamental....often involved in most fights with his older and younger siblings. He pays attention to things....and detail. The rapidity with which he learnt the names of my tools of artisanry belies his age. He is just ten!

The fifth and sixth boys are unremarkable....judging from their tender ages...so I may not dwell on them in detail. They are generally intense at play...as kids their ages are wont to be.

My worry is that the rudeness and saucy disposition of these boys is getting to me. My instincts by training tell me not to give up on them.

How would you deal with this?
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.