May 27, 2017



Dear Brandon,

I NEED YOUR HELP! My parents won’t stop fighting and it’s scaring me! They scream at each other and I always distract them and put them in different rooms to cool things off, but it doesn’t work! Sometimes, my parents even threaten to split up, but a week later they forget about it and cool off. But then, another FIGHT HAPPENS AGAIN! It’s an emotional rollercoaster, and don’t know what to do!!

Frustrated By Family Feud

Hey Frustrated By Family Feud,

Thanks for writing in about this. I’m sorry you’re going through it. This sounds really stressful and you totally deserve to be mad and sad and a bunch of other things, too.

This is the most important thing: It should NOT be your responsibility to referee your parents’ fights. None of this is your fault. They’re the grown-ups, and it puts WAY too much pressure on you.

When they start fighting, is it possible for you to get away from the fight? The best thing would be if you can go far enough that you don’t hear it at all. Like to a neighbor’s house, or take a walk around the block, or hang out at a nearby park. But if the only option is your room, go there and blast some music on your headphones.

Because, you’ve figured this out by now – you can’t fix it. And even if you could, it’s not your job. You need to get off the rollercoaster of feeling like you should be able to fix it and maybe it’s better for a minute but then it all falls apart again and you feel like you failed, even though it wasn’t about you at all.

Your parents might have gotten used to you getting involved. They might even use you against one another. If they’ll listen to you, tell them you don’t want to be a part of their fights anymore. And if they won’t listen to you, it’s okay to get someone else involved. Another adult family member, or a counselor. Someone you trust. This is way too much for you to deal with alone.

It might all be so stressful that it’s getting in the way of your sleep, or your schoolwork. You might have anxious headaches or stomachaches. This is NOT okay, and it’s a definite sign that you need to get someone else involved.

If there’s physical fighting involved, you may need to get out of the house. Not just during fights, but you might need to stay somewhere else for a while with another family member, or some friends. I’m sure you don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but the longer you wait to get help, the more difficult it will be. And if you’re scared, I’m worried that means you’re unsafe.

It’s normal for parents and families to argue sometimes. But, what you’re describing is not normal. I hope you can get some support, and that your parents can get the help they need from a professional.

You’re not alone in this. We’re rooting for you!

Do you ever feel like you’re caught in the middle of others fighting? How do you handle it?