Knowing What To Do When Your Parents are Having a Fight

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Knowing What To Do When Your Parents are Having a Fight


  1. Try not to eavesdrop when your parents argue. Because you don’t know everything about why your parents are arguing, and because you might easily misunderstand something you overhear, it’s probably best if you try not to listen in on their fight.

    • Eavesdropping while your parents are fighting will probably just upset you more, when there’s a good chance that they will soon work it out.
    Find a calmer place. If at all possible, you should try to go somewhere away from where your parents are fighting so that you can relax and let them work it out.

    • For example, you can go to your room and read a book or play a video game, or go play outside
    Try to find a way to escape the fight even if you can’t leave. You may not always be able to go to another room or go outside when you’re parents start to argue.

    • For example, a lot of parents get stressed out and argue during long car trips. If this happens, you can still try to find a way to tune them out.
    • For example, put your ear-buds in and listen to some relaxing or fun music, or try to focus on a magazine or book.
    Know when to call the Emergency Services. If you don’t feel safe when your parents are fighting, if your parents are threatening each other with physical violence, or if someone else is getting hurt, it’s very important that you get to a safe place and that you call for help.

    • You may be worried that your parents will be mad at you for involving the police, but remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and that it is not your fault that the police were called—it is their fault (totally and completely) for having put you in that difficult position.


Part3: Learning About Fighting

  1. Understand that it’s normal for parents to fight. Maybe your parents have started yelling at each other in the next room, or maybe they’ve been ignoring each other for days. Either way, you know that they’re really mad at each other, and it may have you really stressed out.

    • However, it’s important for you to understand that it’s normal and sometimes even healthy for parents to disagree and argue with one another.
    • If your parents don’t fight all the time, and if neither of them seems particularly worried, you may not need to worry too much yourself about their occasional argument.
    Understand why parents fight. Even though your parents are older and are supposedly wise and mature, they are still people. We all get tired, stressed, or have bad days, and it’s possible that your parents are fighting today for these reasons.

    • Chances are, they’ll both start to feel better soon and will make up.
    Understand that it’s not necessarily bad that you know your parents are fighting. Family health experts nearly always recommend that parents don’t fight in front of their children (you don’t need to know all of the details of their adult lives and worries). Even so, it’s important that kids know that their parents do have arguments from time to time.

    • One of your parents’ jobs is to teach you that disagreement is something we can’t avoid, even with the people we love, and to teach you how to deal with it. If your parents hide all of their disagreements from you, it may be harder for you to learn how handle those sorts of situations when you are in a relationship.
    • Hopefully your parents let you know that they’re not mad at each other once they’re done fighting and that they’ve worked it out. If they always forget to tell you this, and you have to watch them nervously to figure out if everything is ok again, you may want to have a talk with them.
    Understand that your parents don’t necessarily mean everything they say when they’re fighting. Sometimes when we’re mad, we say things that we don’t mean or that we later regret. You’ve probably fought with your brother or sister, or with one of your friends and said something terrible like “I can’t stand you!” or “I never want to play with you again!”

    • Once you cooled down, you probably had to apologize and explain that you didn’t mean those hurtful things.
    • While we want our parents to always act perfectly, they will also sometimes say hurtful things to each other that deep down they really don’t mean. Hopefully, they will also apologize soon after the fight.
    Know that it’s not your fault that your parents are fighting. Parents can fight about all sorts of things, from work, money issues, and even about stuff that seems to be about you. For example, they might be fighting about money when you know they just had to write a big check for your swim team expenses. You may be thinking that if you hadn’t asked to join the team they wouldn’t be fighting at all.

    • While it’s easier to blame yourself and it’s hard not to think that it’s your fault, it’s very important that you understand that it is never your fault that your parents are fighting.
    • Your parents have made a grown-up decision to have this argument, and it’s their fault that they aren’t handling it well. Remember that even though a fight might seem like it’s only about one thing (you) it might actually be about a lot of other things that have nothing to do with you.
    Understand that fighting doesn’t necessarily mean that your parents will split up. It’s possible that if your parents fight a lot, they may eventually get divorced. Remember that if that does happen, it won’t be your fault.

    • However, you also need to remember that fighting is normal between people who love each other. A fight doesn’t mean that your parents don’t love each other (or you), and even having several fights doesn’t mean that your parents will get divorced.
    Know that it’s ok to feel upset. Even if you understand that fighting is normal, you may still feel sad, stressed, worried, anxious, or even angry. Your emotions might feel strange to you, but it’s ok for you to feel them.

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