I have a friend in need of help

I have a friend in need of help

Alex, our agony aunt, is here to answer your questions, ease your doubts and help you to make tough decisions. Email your problems to yp@scmp.com, and watch for Alex's answers. And don't worry, you can remain anonymous.

Dear Alex,

My friend has been having a hard time lately with her family. Her mum's thinking is really traditional, always leading to friction between the two. Her dad is seldom home, making her kind of suspicious of him. As for her parents' relationship, they don't really get along well, either. Whenever she talks to me about her problems, I have no idea how to respond, since I have absolutely zero experience in handling such situations and giving advice. What do you think I should say to her in order to ease her stress a bit?

Faithful friend


Dear Faithful friend,

Your friend is so lucky to have someone as kind and loyal as you on her side. This alone will make her difficult home life easier to handle.

Being a good listener is an excellent first step in helping your friend. Listen without judging or taking sides; give feedback, rather than advice, about how she feels.

You are not a psychologist or family counsellor, so won't have all the answers to this tricky situation. Practical suggestions could be looking at internet resources for troubled teens, or contacting a local organisation for expert help.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Successful siblings and friends in need of help


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