I feel like my parents love my brother more than me. I’m 14 and my brother is younger than me, yet he gets to go out with his friends and I have permission issues. What should I do?

Older siblings often have to go through harder rules in the house. Parents tend to relax their disciplinary rules around younger children, which has more to do with the experience learnt by the parents than their love for children. I understand that it makes you feel bad as there seems to be an unequal and unjust treatment as far as the rules are concerned. It would be best to voice your concern to your parents and tell them how you find it hard to deal with. Open communication will allow them the space to see where they are going wrong and how it is making you feel.

I’m 22 and I have had trouble making friends my whole life. I get so nervous, my speech becomes slurred when I talk to new people. I have no one to hang out with, what should I do?

I feel that you need to develop a healthy relationship with yourself. If you have had this problem all your life, then the root cause can be traced back to your childhood. Ask yourself these questions: how were my parents around me? What was my relationship with my parents during childhood? Did they make me feel loved and wanted? Was I given importance? These answers will give you important clues as to why you feel how you feel towards yourself. Your feelings towards yourself will impact your relationships with other people. You need to give yourself love, importance and care. This self assurance will make it easier for you to connect with people.

My 13 year old daughter bites her nails a lot. What should I do to help?

Nail biting in children indicates anxiety, nervousness and stress. You need to explore if something at home, at school, social media or in her inner world is causing her stress. Sometimes children don’t open up easily in front of their parents for various reasons. Spend one to one quality time with her on a daily basis, even if it’s for a short duration. She will open up more to you as soon as your emotional bond deepens with her. It would be advisable to arrange regular therapy with a mental health professional if the problem persists.