Tips for Children (How to Survive Your Parents’ Fights)
Don’t take sides. If one parent asks your opinion or advice or in other ways tries to pull you into the middle of a disagreement with the other parent, just smile and say you’d better stay out of this.
Don’t act as a messenger. If your father or mother asks you to deliver a message about support or other difficult matters, say you’d rather they would work out those things between themselves instead of through you.
Tell each parent you won’t listen to bad things about the other. Explain that you love both parents even though they are less than perfect.
Leave the room when the adults in your life argue. Remember that arguing may be scary, but it isn’t terrible. An argument is one way of working out a disagreement. Most friends do it and the fight doesn’t last forever.
Don’t feel guilty when your parents argue. And don’t feel it’s up to you to make things okay again. Your parents’ disagreements are their problems, not yours. Only they can solve them.
Ask your parents for what you need, such as:
- Please spend some time alone with me, even five minutes of my very own time, not related to school, room cleaning, or things like that.
- Even if you are sure my “other” parent will hurt me, please let me learn myself. I’d like you there with a hug if I do get hurt … and please don’t say, “I told you so!”
- Please don’t call me the man or mother of the house. I NEED TO BE A CHILD.
- Please trust me if once in a while I don’t want to talk. Sometimes, even though you are ready, I’m not.
- Don’t react with anger when I say I want to live with the other parent. Usually when I say it, I am angry, hurt, and scared, too.
- Please let me tell you what I want to tell you about my visits with my other parent. Often I’m afraid I’ll hurt your feelings if I tell you that I had a good time.