Dear Miss Emily:

My mum and my dad split up when I was three and my mum remarried about two years ago and now I have started being very nasty to my step dad and I don't know why .I try and be nice and treat him like my real dad but lately (over the past 6 months) I have just been very cheeky and won't do what he tells me.  I don't know if you can help me, but please try.

---------------------Miss Emily's advice--------------------

Twelve is an age where so much is going on in your life physically (hormonally) and it can affect your behavior/moods. I think it's going to happen, being cheeky, at times, but the best thing to do is apologize once you are able to, and mean it. It's not uncommon to pick on people closest to us, because we have issues we don't yet understand. If he's a good step-dad, try to see a little of it from his point of view. Although he's not your father, and never will be in terms of blood, he's human, he's has emotions, and he at least deserves an "I'm sorry for blowing off steam" when you know you treated him badly for no apparent reason. This is true for us at any age, really. The teenage years, which are breathing down your neck, are filled with emotional ups and downs. If you understand that it's really part of life (everyone's life at one time), you might take the pressure off yourself and realize that emotions can fly out of control, but it's bringing them back down to earth that's more important.