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When Parents Argue

How Do Teens Feel When Their Parents Argue?

Teens can feel unprotected when they see their parents upset and out of control when they argue. Their world seems to be falling apart. They may cry and get stomachaches. They worry. They might have difficulty sleeping; they may not want to go to school. They may even feel ashamed and withdraw from their normal activities or friends.

It's not unusual for teens to worry about one parent or the other during an argument. They might feel like one parent is being abused because the other parent is yelling at them so much. They may also worry that one parent seems so angry that they might lose control and that someone may get physically hurt.

What Should You Do When Parents Argue?

When your parents argue, the best thing to do is to stay out of the argument. For instance, go somewhere else in the house, or go outside. It's their fight, and it is not your job to be an arbitrator or referee!

After things have calmed down, tell your parents how much their arguing upsets you. They may not be aware of how their fighting affects those around them.

If you feel the arguing is out of control, talk to a trusted friend, a teacher, a school counselor, a close relative, or your health care provider. Someone else should know what's going on, because you don't want the arguments to become so out of control that someone gets hurt.

There are also professional therapists and counselors who can help adults -- and families -- work through problems. They can help family members learn to listen to each other and to talk things out without losing their tempers. It takes time, but it does work.

In a family, everyone has to try to make life better for the others. Sure, arguments and disagreements happen. They happen every day. But with patience, understanding, and persistence, families can overcome most any problem.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on May 26, 2014

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