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Should my nephew discontinue studies as he has fallen into bad habits?

Q: My sister and her husband are doctors by profession. Last year my 18 years old nephew got selected in medical and engineering both. During the interviews for medicine, he was reluctant to go to a medical college. At that time he showed interest in engineering. As per interest of his parents, after a few weeks he got ready and joined an Institute of Medical Science. As my sister & her husband are stationed at Delhi, they had opted for a hostel. Initially, he was fine in the hostel, but for the last four months he has become quite spoilt in the company of bad guys. He has started smoking, drinking and even taking drugs etc. as his routine showed. His college timings are is 8 am to 5 pm but his classmates & professors say that he daily returns to hostel room at night 4 am or 6 am drunk. He is not interested in studies and is missing his practical classes too. This time when he went home for holidays, his parents beat him up and gave counselling for bad habits. He agreed to be careful. Now he is back in the hostel again. Should he be called back and asked to discontinue studying, if he is again found drinking etc.? As he is not interested in studies, I am sure he will fail in the first year of MBBS itself, what should we do? How can we make him understand the importance of life and future?

A:Well, beating, discontinuing studies, scolding, calling him back are all options - but are they the best options for the required outcome? Can't this young man keep on drinking if he discontinues his studies, would he not drink more if he is beaten. We need to spend time with this impressionable young man who is at the cusp of maturity, who is looking around at the world for guidance, is trying by trial and error to see various things of life, who may be battling his disinterest in a particular subject, who may have been suddenly left alone to manage life by himself, who is probably not assertive enough to say no to experimentation of alcohol which has seized him by his collar. The solutions are not so easy and so prescriptive. The most essential thing is to get his perspective of the situation, give him enough love and understanding (by spending time and not spending excessive money) provide limits, give him a chance evaluate what he is able to cope with and what not and then decide what is the further course of action depending on his response. Rash decisions will bring rash results. You need to then decide his future with him in the perspective rather than other man’s need as the perspective. If things still remain the same it would be advisable to visit a local psychiatrist who would be able to refer for further drug and alcohol counselling.

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