January 14, 2011 - submitted by Celina, Norway

"I have a little trouble with my parents. Or it's not me having trouble with them, it's them having trouble with each other... They're always fighting and I don't know what to do. I have an older brother and a little brother, but my older brother doesn't live at home any more. So it's just me and my little brother, but I really don't know what I can do to help them and my little brother! I don't want my little brother to see them fight, but they're not very good at hiding it. The only way that makes them stop (sometimes) is that I go between them. But I can't be around them all the time either! This has really come to a problem for all of us, and they do see it, but they're not doing anything to get it better. Please give me some advices, I really need some!
Thank you. Celina, Norway".

The Oracle replies:

Celina it seems your are the most mature person in your home right now! There's an awful lot of misplaced pressure on your shoulders and it's not at all fair. In my opinion you have been doing the right things so far to look after your little brother and to try and intervene but your parents are the adults and they should be able to handle the situation better.
So what I suggest is that you do intervene but not mid argument. When things are calm try to talk to your parents about how you feel and how this is affecting you and your brother. I know your older brother has left home but it may be worth asking for him to lend his support. What I don't want to happen is you sacrificing your life by feeling the need to hang around to step in every time it happens for your brother but I commend your noble actions to protect him. Over to you...

It's horrible to witness your parents' fights all the time. I assume you're a teenager and I know that sometimes older people don't listen to us seriously. I'd say you talk to your mum or dad any time the things are calm and tell them the way you feel. This situation can affect you and your little brother a lot (you are indeed suffering), so it must stop. You're gonna have to open your heart to them so they really can see that you're getting hurt. Tell them everything, the way you feel these days and how it is affecting you; that you need them to think of your brother and you first. They are your parents and they love you and they won't ignore it. I would also say talk to them separately, but you know them better and I think you'll know if it's better facing the two of them at the same time or not.
One thing more that I'd like to tell you is that whatever happens try not to take sides with any of them in any argument they have, because there can be misunderstandings. They are a couple that must solve their problems trying not to involve their children in their arguments (for your own sake).
Remember that whatever happens they both love you more than anything and talking to them is something you must do and it's the only way.
Hope it helps a little. Send you a hug from Argentina. Noelia

Celina, you shouldn't have to do anything. I'm assuming that you're pretty young, like me, and still at school. I suggest that you go and talk to someone. If both your parents know that what they are doing is wrong then there shouldn't be a reason for it to continue, and you shouldn't be the one to have to deal with it. Talk to someone, your older brother, a next-door neighbour, it doesn't matter who, just as long as it's an adult. Adults seem to be taken more seriously, and if they know what's going on then they can help. Tell them what's happening and they will deal with it, don't get involved, and keep safe and happy. Remember to smile and laugh with friends, and remember when you talk to someone, help will come. Don't try and fix it all by yourself. Merinda

I used to be in exactly the same situation with my parents. They literally argued non-stop and there seemed no way of stopping it, they just didn't get on and the arguments were endless. In the end, my parents separated and are currently beginning to become divorced from one another officially. The best advice I can give you is to strongly encourage your parents to go to counselling together to attempt to talk their problems and disagreements through. If they are unwilling do to so, perhaps, like my parents the best thing for them is to live apart. When my parents first separated it was, of course, very difficult, and surreal. But two years on, I wonder how they lasted so long living with each other. Marianne, Bournemouth

I understand what you're trying to say... I kinda thought it was sad that my parents fought.. but now that I've been in relationships and been married for so long, I realize that we don't fight intentionally. Nobody gets a kick by fighting with someone they love. You have to understand that its very difficult for two different individuals to stay together. It takes a lot of effort from both the sides. So sometimes, it might be something that is disturbing the both of them and they are just letting it out by fighting each other. Believe me, in today's world, we can only let out our frustration at the ones we love. No one else is going to take our crap!!
As for you and for your brother, I understand it does affect us when we see our folks fighting, but if you really wanna do something about it, you could talk to them and tell them how it affects us kids. Sometimes they just might listen to you.. or.. they might not.. but it's worth a shot.
If there is an option, try to take your brother to your room or some place else when they do have an argument.. and if required.. butt in and tell them to keep it low!! tell them you have homework or something..
Above all else.. remember that it has nothing to do with anyone else.. and leave it to your parents to sort it out .. and I do hope and pray that they will..
God bless you!! Soni

First we have to understand that parents alongside with all humanity make mistakes. It is brutally wrong that your parents fight in front of you and your little brother. I recommend you talk to someone (counselor) at school about this problem; because you might be keeping anger and desperation inside. Please do not let your little brother witness the fights because he might not be conscious enough to understand what's going on, but it still harms him. It'd be great if you could find a personal hobby you could use to relax, but most important to relieve from everything you've been living. Paint, sing and write; express yourself. Take your brother for a walk if your parents are fighting, then talk to each of them separately. I am sure that if you talk to them and tell all you feel and think, they’ll understand that if they have trouble, it is not your fault and you have no reason to be involve. You have the right to live happily and most important, to be comfortable in your own place. Remember to be very courageous when facing this problem, because I'm sure your little brother finds comfort when by your side. Mahomed

I know what you're going through. My parents have had the same problems, and I have a little sister who I want to protect.
I don't know how old you little brother is, but if he's old enough to understand the concept of a relationship you could try telling him how relationships between grownups work. You could tell him that your parents fight, but still love each other, or that they're going through a rough time now, but that in time everything will be better. And you could explain to him that everyone fights from time to time, and that it is all part of a relationship. Maybe he'll understand. If you think it will help, you can try talking to your parents, and finding out what they're fighting about. Maybe you can help them solve their problems. Good luck with it! Wouter

I have an older brother who was in the position you are in now. I was in the same position as your little brother. My parents spent everyday fighting about the stupid things and if they weren't fighting, they weren't speaking. Here is an approach that you can take. Write your parents a letter (two separate copies so they won't have to read it together). Take your time and simply write EVERYTHING that you want to tell them including how their fighting is affecting you and your little brother. Let your heart out in this letter and tell them everything you want them to know. Don't feel bad about making them feel bad because honesty in a family is a very important factor and they have a right to know the truth. I feel that writing a letter is more effective in most cases as compared to having a conversation. Having a conversation with them allows them to interrupt you, which could lead to more arguments. Try the letter and go from there. Hopefully it helps! What my brother and I went through has only made us stronger. Hang in there Celina and keep living your life to the fullest! Macie

Don't feel alone, I came from a family where my parents often fought and I was the oldest with 2 younger siblings. Try and talk to them over and over again, when they begin fighting ask can you please not do this in front of the child? Make them see that it isn't ok. If they yell at you (which in my experience tends to happen) roll your eyes, and say ok "I WILL BE THE ADULT" and remove your sibling. Your main concern is you're not always around, make a safe place for your sibling. Music usually works or some type of computer game that he KNOWS to go to once the fighting starts, out of sight out of mind, depending on how old they are. The key is try to get through to them if all else fails, which I hope it won't, talk to a school counselor. Just stress the impact you feel your parents fighting has on you, they wont call CPS or anything crazy they will want to talk to your parents. They are always asking "is everything ok at home"... sometimes its ok to say it's not. Wendy

In my opinion, there are a few things you can do to solve your problem, the rest is on your parents.First of all, instead of going between them, try to talk to them, while you are all together. Try to explain how do you and your brother feel when you hear them arguing all the time, I'm sure they are both sensible people, and they will understand your position. you can also try to do some activities outside the house with your little brother so he can't hear your parents fighting.
I hope everything gets better from now on.
Yours Faithfully, Javi

It was extremely difficult to choose the responses this week - apologies if yours wasn't selected but please do keep them coming! It was amazing to read so many similar emails giving practically the same advice. It seems that many of us could empathize with Celina having experienced our parents arguing. Thank you everyone.
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