Dear Janice, six months ago my mum and dad agreed that their marriage was over, but they are still living under the same roof with me caught in the crossfire. 

When the decision was made it all appeared to be very amicable, however, as they try to sort out finances etc, their relationship has deteriorated to the point that they only speak to each other to exchange obscenities.

My dad goes out a lot and comes home drunk, whereas my mum opens a bottle of wine at dinner and that’s her for the night. Consequently, I spend a lot of time in my bedroom to avoid the animosity, which is not easy as I do most of my coursework from home.

I wish this situation was at an end and my life was back on track as I am struggling to cope with this mess, but what can I do? Gemma.

Dear Gemma, it’s bad enough having to deal with your parents’ marriage breakup, but witnessing them at each others’ throats is unfair and damaging for you too.

They are both clearly oblivious to your feelings and have no thought about how you are coping with this massive shift in your life, so I think it’s about time you told them exactly how you feel.

Despite being the adults, it’s time to challenge them and make sure you get your point across.

Perhaps a relative could sit in with you for support when you have this chat, but it is important that neither of them has consumed alcohol when this happens.

If this fails, then write each of them a heartfelt letter explaining your feelings of despair. Hopefully, this will give one or both of them the wake-up call they need.

If nothing improves, find out if it is possible for you to move out to a relative’s home for interim period of them going their separate ways before this situation does irreparable damage to you.  Good luck.

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Dear Janice, one of my best friends is getting married in a few months and I was really looking forward to it. But I found out the invite is for me and my husband only.  I called her to confirm that our children were not invited, and she said that apart from her own children, it was a child-free wedding.

I am hurt my kids have been excluded and are not welcome as we love family days out, and that aside we have no childcare.

I am at the point of making an excuse not to go, but my husband says I would live to regret it.  What do you suggest?  Aileen.

Dear Aileen, what parent doesn’t relish a day away from their kids to relax and enjoy adult company for a day?

The fact is, your friend has the right to invite who she wants to her wedding and if she excludes all children (apart from her own), that’s her choice to do so.

Given it’s months away, I would be surprised if you couldn’t source a relative or friend to look after your children, but if not then the money you have saved dressing your children in wedding attire could easily pay for a registered childminder.

So, take your kids to the zoo, park, cinema or where ever you enjoy on your family days, and get your act together for your friend’s wedding.   Your husband is right – you will only live to regret it if you lie and don’t go.



Dear Janice, our 15-year-old son has turned into someone I don’t recognise, or like.  He vapes, drinks alcohol, and barely talks to me, and when he does his attitude is abysmal.

When he is home he spends hours sleeping and his bedroom is like something out of Hoarders.  I swear he only comes out to wind me up. It doesn’t help that his mother sides with him in every argument and makes excuses for him regardless of his behaviour. 

I wish his life away as I can’t tolerate his behaviour any longer.  I miss the lovely young boy he once was. Jim.

Dear Jim, you have just described teenagers in households around the world, so you’re not alone.

You need to accept that your lovely young boy is growing up, and part of that means he will change in many ways during this critical period of development. 

Teenagers’ brains grow and change significantly during adolescence, it simply does not function the way it used to, and at 15, the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed.

This is why you are seeing such changes in your son, a lot of which he won’t even understand himself.

That said. I’m not condoning his drinking and vaping etc in the least, but some of it is out with his control.

I suggest you do some research to find out more about what makes teenagers tick. Once you have a better understanding of what you are dealing with you may begin to make some allowances for his unruly behaviour.

You and your wife need to be on the same page when dealing with your son, so together, read up, set boundaries, and focus on getting him the help and support he needs to get through his adolescent years.