“I’ve had enough! I can’t take it anymore! My family will not stop fighting and it’s scaring me!”
It’s not easy, especially for children, when their family members are fighting. Fighting is very common when people live together and spend a lot of time with each other as, irrespective of how they love each other, it is very likely that they disagree and lose their tempers. In fact, this happens a lot among siblings who get into fights and end up making up in the end despite having offended each other. Nonetheless, children struggle to figure out what to do when their family will not stop fighting and, consequently, feel sad, stressed, worried, and angry.
Irrespective of the feelings that this may bring about, what you probably wish for the most is to bring this fighting to an end. Family members may argue over a variety of issues, including addictions, sibling conflict, infidelity and financial difficulties. Although you have limited control of what you can do, you can still cope and feel better. The following might help:
- Creating boundaries is important as, at the end of the day, you are not responsible for your parents’ conflict and it is not your duty to make things right between them.
- Reading about it or indulging in something that you love might be comforting. In fact, ideally, you keep yourself busy and do the things that make you feel happy. If you still haven’t figured what does, you might try out new things until you manage.
- If you’re upset or angry, try to calm down and keep cool. By hurting yourself or someone else, you or the other person might get more angry and the argument might get even worse. Going to your room, punching a pillow, going out, running outside, or finding a quiet place to relax might all help you feel better. In fact, creating a safe space where you can’t hear the fighting really helps.
- Encourage your family to call for a family meeting to talk about what is going on. The meeting offers the possibility for every member of the family to talk and suggest solutions.
- Share the way you feel about it with them rather than telling them to stop. This can either be done directly or by writing a letter to them, whichever way you prefer. For instance, you can tell them that you feel worried, scared, anxious or panicked.
- You might also encourage your parents to schedule a meeting with a counsellor or therapist to talk about their problems. Although it is not easy, with the help of the professional, your family can learn how to deal with the fighting.
- Talking to someone you trust about it, for instance a sibling, a friend, a relative, or a counsellor also helps.
Finally, if you are feeling that the home is not safe anymore, you are encouraged to seek help and reach out by, for instance, calling Supportline 179 and availing of other services that offer 24-hour support.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Johanna Cutajar is a Master in Counselling graduate from the University of Malta. She works with children and adolescents as a counsellor within the education sector on a variety of issues including relationship issues, trauma, bereavement, transitions, and general mental health.
Douglas Tynan, W. (n.d.). What Should I Do if My Family Fights? Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/family-fights.html