Saturday, January 28

DEAR DEIDRE: JUST when I thought things were getting better, my stepson started messing up again. Now I’m at the end of my tether.

It seems no matter how hard we try with him, he is unable to sort himself out.

He’s just turned 15 and has been living with us for around six years. I’m a woman of 45 and my husband is 47.

When he first moved in it was a joy. He’d help around the house and was always well behaved.

Yet now it seems he’s set on making our lives a misery.

A few months ago he got suspended from school for misbehaving and starting fights with his classmates.

Get in touch with the Dear Deidre team

Every problem gets a personal reply from one of our trained counsellors.

After a stern talking to, we thought we’d got through to him, but now he hasn’t been turning up to school.

He’s also recently been coming home smelling of cigarettes and weed, and I can’t help but worry about what he’s getting up to.

I really don’t know what to do any more.

I can't bare talking to my oldest friend anymore - she is so insensitive

DEIDRE SAYS:  The teenage years can be a time of turbulence for many families, and while he needs love and support, he also needs firm but fair boundaries.

At the core of most problems is unhappiness.

So while he may act tough, deep down there may be issues he needs help to address. It’s vital to keep talking and listening to him.

Contact familylives.org.uk (0808 800 2222), who can discuss these issues with you.

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