Hi Kalmteens, have you ever come home from a long day at school, expecting to have some needed rest, only to find your parents fight with each other? Or perhaps such fighting is so common that you can already feel that pit in your stomach sinking deeper and deeper every step you take closer to open the door to your house? Every time the pitch increases, your heartbeat quickens, stimulating anxiety and fear. Even silent arguments can be hurtful to watch. Oftentimes, we may get too caught up in the moment, not knowing what to do or how to react when our parents fight.
The fact that you are here, reading this, means you are strong enough to seek for help and solution. Our team at KALM is eager to help you cope and battle the stress with the following tips:
First Things First When our Parents Fight
See if either one of our parents has been physically hurt. If the fighting indicates abuse, we should call for professional help and contact the nearest adult around us whom we trust.
Otherwise, we can proceed by trying to identify the problem or what causes the fight. This will help us determine whether our parents fighting over trivial things or serious issues and whether we should be more concerned or not.
Look for a Safe Spot
We may feel rattled from hearing the loud noises and offensive language. No matter how triggered we feel, we must refrain from joining the fight. The worst thing for us is to get dragged into the fight and provoked to pick a side.
Remember, we may not know the complete picture and be tempted to make the wrong conclusion. Once we are sure that there are no abuse involved we can give them (and ourselves) some space. Go for a walk, see a friend, or simply go to our room. If we cannot leave the vicinity we can resort to distract ourselves with music, books, movies, or any other escape that can be done without physically leaving.
Control Our Thoughts, Feeling, and Action
Acknowledge that the only thing you can control is yourself and not your parents. We should try our best to stir the negative thoughts away and not to blame ourselves for how our parents are behaving, or for not intervening during the fight. Keep in mind that it’s okay to feel upset about the situation and that most fights are temporary.
We can also take some time to explore our feelings with an adult we can trust. Let them help us reinterpret the meaning of the situation into a more neutral and less emotional terms. Be honest with how we feel but it is best that we address the issue respectfully.
Try keeping a gratitude journal. List things we can still be grateful for in that journal. It has been scientifically proven to be able to stop unhappy train of thoughts and therefore increase our happiness level.
Talk to Our Parents
There is no guarantee we can stop our parents fight. However, trying to explain how we feel can lead them to decide to stop on their own. It is important, though, that we approach them at the right time after the fight is over. Describe how we perceive the situation and tell them what we truly want. If we ever find ourselves too nervous to address it in person, we can try writing them a letter instead.
Let Off Our Own Steam
We don’t have to be strong all the time, it’s okay to be human. It’s okay to cry and express our emotion every once in a while. Instead of bottling it up, we can also channel our emotion in ways that can ultimately benefit us. Ask ourselves, “What has helped me deal with this in the past?” Is it by exercising, writing a poem, or even simply to just talk to our friends?
Reconstruct Our Perception
As weird as this sounds, fighting can be healthy. If our parents work long hours in a tight community, they may not have anywhere to vent out their accumulated stress except to each other. Besides, rather than specific issues, our parents may have personality differences and are just struggling to work through them. In cases like these, fighting may serve as a way for a more honest communication and a deeper, stronger, relationship with each other.
At the End of the Day…
We should try to understand our parents. The last thing we want to do is to start another fight with them. No matter how distanced the fight makes them seem, they are still our parents. Every family has their own dynamics, and we are born into our own for a reason. See to it that this is our chance to show our support for their relationship. Perhaps we can even suggest family therapy. Remember, Kalmteens, we might not have the power to control what comes our way but we always have the power to decide how we should respond to them.
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