Is my son violent because I put up with his abusive dad for so long?

DEAR DEIDRE: I GET no respect from my son – and I worry it’s all my fault.

I’m a single mum after being in a violent and abusive relationship.

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My son heard lots of arguments and witnessed my ex pulling my hair and threatening me. It was a terrible time.

I’m 38. My ex-husband is 41 – and I’m so much better off without him.

Unfortunately, my son has picked up a lot of his traits.

He is unruly and can push me around. He’s now 14 and he’s getting bigger than me.

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His dad sees him about once a month, takes him to a fast-food place then brings him home. He’s no help.

I’m so scared my son is going to turn out just like his father.

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DEIDRE SAYS: Children are influenced by the behaviour of their mums and dads.

But 14-year-old boys also have hormones flying around and the will to push their parents’ buttons, so his current behaviour could be more about dealing with a challenging teen.

In a quiet moment, tell him you feel upset when he’s disrespectful, and shoving you around is definitely not OK.

If things get to fever pitch again, walk away until he’s calmer.

Ask him if there’s anything he’d like to do – a trip to a theme park or joining a football club – and if he’s nicer to you, you will try to make that happen.

Speak to Gingerbread (, 020 7428 5400) who offer practical support for single parents.

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