Family

Troubled teen

Dear Wendyl, I am 13 years old and I am wondering if you might be able to help me. My family is always fighting over the most stupid things. My brother often swears at my mum and causes fights in our family. My dad is always at work, from 8am to 10pm. I have just started high school and it is a rather hard time for me. Do you have any ideas what to do about this? James

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Dear James, It can be very lonely when one sibling in a family is creating all the drama and a parent is largely absent. You would be amazed how many teenagers feel this way about their family – you are not alone. Here are some things to think about: Your brother is probably quite miserable too, judging by his behaviour, and this is something he will grow out of. These are not your problems, though, so don’t try to fix them. Have faith in yourself and who you are and concentrate on things in your life that you enjoy.

oany teenagers find it useful to get involved in sports or after-school activities, which can give you some time with like-minded people. I would advise you to see a school counsellor because you’d be surprised at some of the coping mechanisms counsellors can teach you. They will also know how to approach your parents. It’s possible your father is working late to avoid exactly the situation you are having trouble coping with – perhaps you can help each other?

Another idea is to contact Youthline (visit www.youthline.co.nz or freephone 0800 376 633). Don’t be shy about doing this, I guarantee you will feel better if you learn some coping techniques.Wendyl

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