From a teenaged young man in the U.S.: So my dad and I have had a troubling relationship about when I found out he cheated on my mom. He abused me physically and mentally for about 7 years. Finally I had reached the last straw. As im now 15, i was with him the other day and he had been picking on me the whole day, and finally i said stop and we got into an argument and he hit me in my mouth.

I called my mom and she said just try to get along with him. At this point im having a nervous break down. Well he called my mom and told her what was happening (My parents are divorced because he cheated on her) and he said if i would have done that to my dad i wouldve gotten beat,

well my mom then said well you were also a lot of a worse kid than (i) am, she said because he did drugs and drank, and he said F you and hung up, my mom then got another call and told him if i dont wanna come anymore i dont have to ( this has happened many times but now im sticking to my guns.

Well Ive also had problems with my step dad as well, and i feel my mom is not on my side anymore and thinks i bring these problems on myself.

She also doesnt let me hang out with my GIRL– friends any more because she says i need to hang out with more guys. I have plenty of friends male and female and it really ticks me off she would do this. I just dont wanna do this anymore but i also have to be nice because im living here probably until im done with college, AND IM 15. I hope to grad at 17 so i can get an early start and leave. I NEED HELP

A: This is sure complicated! If I’m reading your letter right, your mom did back you up about not going to your dad’s any more. So give her credit for that.

It’s likely your mom just wants peace in the house and is probably caught between you and your stepdad. You didn’t specify what goes on between you and him, so I don’t know how to advise you about that. I do know that it isn’t uncommon for a kid in your situation to have problems with a stepparent, especially if that stepparent is trying to discipline you in any way. If that’s the case, maybe you need to consider having a mature talk with him and your mom about household rules and how to get along better.

As far as your mom’s concerns about your female friends, it may be that she is worried about sex. Instead of talking about it directly, she’s trying to limit your time with girls. If that’s the case, then, again, the best way for you to try to change things would be to reassure her that you are able to be just friends with these girls and that you do know how to keep yourself and the girls safe sexually.

I wouldn’t characterize your situation as “having to be nice”. Instead, I hope you can think about it as an opportunity to show your mom and stepdad that you are maturing and can be trusted. That requires talking things out rather than just being mad.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie