My parents are fighting – What can I do?

First of all, if your parents are fighting, please know that it’s not your fault. Second, if you are not in a safe place (or someone is getting hurt) please get help. Call 911 if someone is in need of help.

Okay, got that scary disclaimer out of the way. NOW… a bit of background. Parents have many, many things to disagree about, and disagreeing is NORMAL. Raising kids/teens and working, paying bills, living life (etc.) is not a simple thing to do. Parents are going to fight. My thought, since you are reading this, though, is that your parents are fighting A LOT (frequently) or BIG TIME (the fights are scary). I’m really sorry you (and they) are going through this.

My parents are fighting

Even if your parents are fighting about YOU, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. If you’re thinking, “Yes it is my fault. If I could only do _______ better, then they would not fight,” you’re wrong. Even if you changed _______ behavior, your parents would still disagree. Either about your behavior, how to pay the bills, which vacation to take over summer break, or something else. That is not on you. They are adults and will figure out how to get through their fighting. They will resolve their disagreement in their own way.

You are probably feeling a ton of emotions (angry, sad, confused, scared, hopeless, pissed) and that is okay. It is best to talk about the way you’re feeling with a friend, trusted adult, etc. If your parents’ fighting is getting really bad (and you are not in danger) it might make sense to talk with them about it. ***DO NOT DO THIS DURING ONE OF THEIR FIGHTS!*** They may not realize that their fighting has gotten out of hand, or that you’re aware that they’re fighting (not joking about this. Many parents are shocked to learn that their kids hear their fights). I cannot safely recommend that all teens talk with their parents about the fighting. Please talk with a trusted adult if you are thinking of talking with your parents and it feels scary.

I do not know what your parents fights mean. Many teens ask me if their parents are going to get divorced because they are fighting. I don’t know that answer. Just know that all parents disagree/fight, and this does not always mean that divorce is near.

Please talk with someone you trust, know that your parents’ fights are not your fault, and keep yourself safe. This time in your life will pass…

Was this helpful? What else do you want to know about fighting parents?

35 thoughts on “My parents are fighting – What can I do?

  1. Yes, this was very helpful and it is something that parents worry about. Parenting teens is a big source of anxiety and conflict for parents. That said, sometimes parents don’t know what to do. I work with couples doing couples counseling, and sometimes when my clients teens talk to them about the fighting and the way it makes the teen feel it can be hugely healing for the couple. Sometimes the family needs therapy to be able to work through these problems and begin talking with each other. Thanks for this post, well said and I agree.

  2. What if you saw your father cheating on your mother so you go tell you mum, then it is your fault. Because if you stayed quiet and didn’t tell your mum then things would not have gotten out of control.

    • Angelena,

      Thanks for your note. Please remember that this is NOT your fault. You told your mom because you saw something that you weren’t supposed to see. If you had not told your mom, she probably would have found out about the affair at some point. It is not your fault that things have gotten “out of control.” You did the best you could with information that you accidentally stumbled upon.

      I hope things have calmed down by now and that you can see that this is not your fault.

      Wishing you all the best,
      megan

  3. this wasn’t very helpful. they still fight even if i talk to them about it and they even had a fight about who’s fault it was for me hearing them. And another time i talked to them about it they told me it was none of my beezwax.

    • Hi Anna,

      It sounds like your parents are not in a place to hear you right now. I recommend that you find other support people to talk with about the stress of your parents fighting, so that you don’t feel all alone in this, and so you can talk about how hard it is to deal with the stress of their fighting. If that isn’t possible, please find a teen therapist or trusted adult to confide in.

      Good luck to you,
      megan

  4. My parents are fighting. Ow. And I dont know what to do. I am feeling scared frightened and sad. I know parents always fight and that’s life so I am just going to relax myself and they will figure out their way.

    • Hi Aliyah,

      I’m sorry that your parents’ fight is scary. If you are feeling scared in this moment, it is probably best to stay out the middle of it. Please call someone for help if you hear violence happening; violence is not “normal” parental fighting.

      Take care of yourself,
      megan

  5. My parents always fight (for like 3 years now) and when I ask them to stop when they aren’t fighting, they tell me that they’re not fighting, they love each other enough to argue with each other. Does loving each other include throwing object at each other at 5 AM and yelling their heads off? It’s really hard on me and my younger brother. I talk to my friends about it, and they support me all the time, but they aren’t always there. I don’t know what to do sometimes….

    • Hi Rachel,

      I’m glad that you have talked with your parents about this, and that your parents seem somewhat open to discussing the issue. Yelling their heads off and throwing an object does not sound like a good way to express anger. Because this is your parents’ pattern, I wonder if you can go back to them and tell them that you feel afraid when they throw things at one another? You are doing a good thing by talking with friends. It might be a good idea to find a trusted adult that you can talk with as well.

      Hopefully your parents can hear you when you tell them that you feel afraid of their fights.

      Best of luck to you, Rachel.
      megan

  6. I dont know what to do my parents have been screaming/yelling for 2 hours straight! Im freaked out. Please help?

    • Hi blahhhhh,

      I hope your parents worked through this fight. Sometimes parents fight in ways that can feel super yucky to everyone who hears the fight. You have options: 1. Talk with your parents about how their fighting is scary for you, 2. Talk with an adult about how your parents’ fighting is scary for you, 3. Talk with a friend about the fighting, 4. Talk with a therapist about their fighting, 5. Keep it to yourself. Keeping this to yourself might be hard, and I usually recommend that teens get some kind of support. Because I don’t know your situation, I can’t tell you what I think would be best, but hopefully this list was helpful.

      I hope you’re doing okay,
      megan

  7. I don’t consider it fighting because they aren’t arguing a point so much as calling themselves out about doing things wrong so as to make the other feel bad, and they don’t yell or insult but are just cold and bitter when this happens. Like ‘have a nice day’ and ‘have a nice day’ can be said both genuinely and negatively. If that makes sense. I don’t know what to do they act like they hate eachother while this goes on but when they are fine they are a good pair. I’m so confused I don’t want to ignore it I can’t tear myself away from silently listening …

    • Hi Maddie,

      If you are silently listening to their conflict, it would be good if they knew you were listening. During a time when they are not fighting, it might benefit you to tell them that you are worried about them and that you can’t help but hear their struggles. All parents have struggles and all parents have things they disagree about. Maybe their discussions aren’t a big deal. Maybe they are; I don’t know, but maybe they will talk with you about it if you bring it up to them. Additionally, maybe your parents will save their “serious discussions” for times when they are away from the house, etc.

      I hope this helps.

      megan

  8. My parents relationship has been really rocky. I remember when I was little and I was sitting in the car going to my grandmas house because my parents were fighting. Whenever my parents fight I go to my room and I cry. I’m the oldest in my family and my younger siblings don’t understand why I cry so much when they fight. My mom and dad are either really close or they are fighting. They’ve been fighting lately and I’ve heard my mom say that she would rather be divorced because my dad doesn’t do anything. But my dad doesn’t make very much money working for the local grocery store. My dad pays the house bill and stuff like that and there was a time when we almost lost our house because my dad didn’t have enough money to pay it for a couple of months. It seems like my mom blames my dad for everything and when my mom talks to my dad about it, it just makes him feel even worse. My dad loves my mom with all his heart but my mom doesn’t see it. He would do anything for her, but he’s not perfect and he messes up; sometimes it may be something big or something small. At times I think that it’s my fault because my mom got pregnant with me before they were married and that’s against our religion. Sometimes I think that if my mom wouldn’t have gotten pregnant with me then everything would be fine and none of this would have happened. All of this gets bottled up and people that I tell don’t seem to understand the situation. The only thing they say is “I’m sorry”. I just need some advice to see what I should do and if it sounds like if my parents are going to get divorced.
    Thanks xx.

    • Hi Dakota,

      I’m sorry your parents are struggling and that you are hurting! One thing for starters: Their problems are not your fault. Your parents would likely have some of the same problems with or without kids. It sounds like some of the dynamics that have developed between them are not about specific kid-related issues, but rather personality differences. This is very common with parents. They are trying to figure out how to work through their differences.

      I do not know if they are going to get divorced. Many parents talk about divorce and never separate. Sometimes divorce is used as an empty threat. Some parents go through phases where they talk about divorce a lot. This does not mean that they are (or are not) going to divorce.

      It sounds like you’ve tried talking with others as a way of getting support. That’s good that you’re reaching out. It might be helpful (though I do not know your parents or the situation, so please remember that) to talk with your parent(s) about how afraid you are.

      Thinking of you,
      megan

  9. I’ve talked to my parents until I’m blue in the face; they just cannot get along. It’s been going on for close to 10 years, though the last 2 have been the worst. And I mean bad; screaming, name-calling, cursing, sobbing fits, and sometimes (rarely, though it has happened) it gets physical; all in front of me and my younger siblings. Recently I summed up the nerve to tell them that I’ve cut in the past (I don’t anymore, even though it’s VERY difficult) and my mother’s response was “I’m not saying that I believe you, but that’s just a huge cry for attention.” She called me immature, selfish, etc. (She saw the marks on my wrist, so I really don’t understand how she doesn’t believe me.) I really thought that if I finally told them what I’d done (It happened about 6 months ago) they’d realize the damage they’re doing by constantly fighting. My heart was shattered when my mother said those things to me. (And no, I didn’t cut for attention. No one even knew that I was doing it, and I hid it from everyone even after I had stopped. I just needed some form of release, I know how stupid and petty that probably sounds.) The thing with my mother is that she’ll be angry with my father about something, and then jump to anyone else around, and blame them for something, no matter how minuscule. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve wanted to call the police, (I know the neighbors must hear them) but I worry what would happen to my siblings if I were to do that, since they’re under-age.

    I have no extended family members, (I’ve never met the majority of my extended family; they and my parents don’t get along) no friends, and no access to outside help (teachers, guidance counselors) because I’m home-schooled and don’t have my driver’s license. I’m 18, but because my parents can’t live by a budget, I sometimes have to use the money I make from my part-time job to buy food for the family, so I can’t afford to move out. (90% of their fighting is about money, even though they make enough to support the family. I know, because I’ve done their bills for them.) And they will not get a divorce, for various reasons. They say it’s mainly because they can’t afford to do so, but I know that isn’t the whole thing, because if they are really as unhappy as they say they are, they’d do everything to make it happen, and they don’t.

    I’m just really at the end of my rope. Is there anything I can do? Or is this just something I have to wait out?

    • Hi Grace,

      Sounds like your situation is really hard. Given that you have tried to talk with them about their fighting for the past ten years, it is safe to say that they are not in a place to work on decreasing their fighting, etc. I am happy that you have a job, and hope that you will save your money in order to find a way to move out. Your siblings will likely be fine (as you are!) and they will develop their own ways of dealing with your parents’ fighting.

      I know what I am saying to you probably does not feel very helpful, but I think your situation is very difficult. I believe it might be time for you to consider trying and start living your adult life outside of their home.

      Best of luck to you,
      megan

  10. I don’t know how I should feel about myself. Usually it’s alright and my family is great, we’ve progressed a lot from when I was younger. When I was little my mom did not manage her anger well, but she got better after my third grade year. She now tries to control her anger. My dad was always very patient and kind, but sometimes he, too, would hurt me and my sister verbally. My sister was usually very mean to me when I was younger, she wouldn’t touch me and when I tried to hug her she would hit me.
    As of now, my mom sometimes gets mad and yells but she mostly scolds me a little and talks to me. My sister is now willing to be with me and sometimes will come to me because she wants to, not because I try to connect to her. But my parents and especially my dad have a problem.
    Since my dad works in a really busy job, sometimes he’ll come home really late. My mom and I get worried because he doesn’t return our calls, and when he does come home my mom yells at him. They end up in a “big fight” that happens at least 2 or 3 times a year, which is why it’s so scary. Sometimes my mom will pack up her stuff or kick my dad out, and when I was younger she did that to me and my sister, so I start getting really panicky and might hyperventilate when that happens. My mom always had a short temper and it is getting better, but sometimes I see them fist fighting when arguing and it scares me so much. Sometimes my mom threatened me to call the police, and she’ll disown me and I don’t deserve to be her child.
    My dad does do a lot of bad things like not tell us information or touches my mom in public which is bad but it doesn’t make him bad. He’s not harassing her because they’re married and love each other, but it’s not okay if they’re in public because my mom doesn’t like that. When they’re fighting my dad tries to be supportive of me, but sometimes he’ll be really mad and yell at me too.
    During these fights my sister tends to try to ignore them and hope they go away. Sometimes I see her stabbing herself with pens to ignore the yelling. I usually try to get them to calm down and when my mom throws stuff away, I try to take that stuff and hide it so my parents can’t leave the house forever. But they always yell at me not to interfere because it’s their problem but then I hear them yelling and I see my mom lugging her clothes down the stairs I get really scared. We usually have small fights but the big fights really scare me because sometimes they last up to three days. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do and now I can’t handle people talking about parental fighting in public without nearly breaking down.

    • Hi Nicole,

      I am so sorry you’re dealing with this. The biggest thing I think of when I read your post is that you need more support from adults. Please find someone to talk to so that you can understand that you can have a beautiful life ahead of you. A counselor, school counselor, pastor, friend’s parent, teacher, etc.

      I hope this helps. I wish I could give you more, but for now, I believe that you will feel better if you have more emotional support.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  11. My parents are fighting. It’s a big fight. My dad is refusing to sleep in the same bed as my mum because of it. I understand they need their space but this is rediculous. I feel so mentally, emotionally and physically sick to my stomach. I feel shaky, scared, and light headed. Is this normal? I don’t know what to do when they argue because I have no place to go and they are loud so I always hear them if I try to cry in my room. Sometimes these fights get way out of hand. They fight so much, they threaten to walk out and they tell eachother to leave.. Sometimes. I have younger brothers who don’t understand. I’m old enough to understand and feel the fights they have. I’m struggling to cope. If I ever wanted to talk to someone, they’d end up bringing my parents into it and they would just go off on one at me. Sometimes I feel as if they don’t care what I feel when they argue. I don’t know what to do.

    • Hi Ella,

      I am so very sorry that your parents are fighting like this. Yes, it is normal to get shaky, scared and light-headed when your parents fight. This tells me that you are likely terrified and also that you’re not likely breathing enough. When you are in your room and feel very afraid, it might benefit you to do some belly breathing, in order to prevent your body from hyperventilating. Google belly breathing and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

      If you don’t want to talk with anyone about what is going on, it seems that the best thing you can do is try to take care of yourself when they fight.

      I’m sorry and I hope that your parents will work through their conflict.

      megan

  12. My parents have been fighting for the last couple of years now. Growing up I knew they were and I heard it alot especially when I was woken up by them yelling at each other. I overlooked it because I figured hey every couple fights, right? But now I think its become more serious. I think they might divorce though im not completely sure because they have been saying so for about 3 maybe four years. But it scares me because it can get…. aggressive…. like them yelling at each other loudly and throwing things and not even be able to be around each other at times, it also scares me because im slowly starting to see parts of them i dont like, and i feel as though at times they are trying to pin me and my younger brother against each of them; and im hearing things about each of them;and my dad keeps talking about him leaving all of us and im the oldest its only me and my little bro and i try my best to keep him from truly realizing what’s going on but theres no hiding it. My parents inspirations for some of their arguments is because of me i feel because me and my father dont completely get along; and i feel that the source of everything is my fault because my parents got married during highschool because my dad got my mom pregnant of me, and so maybe if they would have never had me they wouldnt have gotten married and they wouldnt be stuck together so miserable. Im a teen now and i grew up with this but their fighting is affecting me now. I’m trying to be strong for my little brother but all of this just makes me angry and want to cry especially with my father constantly saying that i dont need him that im old enough to understand now that none of this matters. I love them both so much.
    I do not know what to do.

    • Hi Iris,

      Even when parents fight about their kids, their kids are often not actually the reason for the conflict. I know that maybe makes no sense to you right now, but parents are involved in very complicated relationships and their fights are likely about a certain dynamic in their relationship, not the kids themselves. Please do not blame yourself, as your parents’ problems are not your fault. I know you love them both very much, and that is good and healthy. Your parents seem to be struggling and they may or may not divorce, but you will be fine. It is not your fault that they got married, that was a choice they made. Your parents are not stuck being married to one another, that is the choice they continue to make every single day. Your little brother will begin to understand the fighting, and he is lucky to have a big sister like you. You cannot prevent him from understanding his situation. He will learn and make sense of their fighting as you have. All you can do (aside from talking to them, a counselor, etc.) is live your life and hope that your parents find a way to decrease the conflict in their and your lives.

      I hope this is helpful. Please know their fighting is not your fault.

      megan

  13. hello
    lately, my parents were fighting. it scares me. they didn’t talk to each other anymore. i’m afraid that they will get divorce what shall i do?? my little brother told me that our parents always fight behind us. my little brother is 4. i’m scared because last night, they were fighting at the kitchen infront of my brother. i felt so terrible and so sad. i tried to ignore all of this but i just can’t. i felt sorry for my mother because my dad was the one who started the fight by insulting her.

    • Hi khello,

      I am so sorry that your parents have been fighting in front of you and your brother. Trying to ignore their fighting is probably going to be a hard thing to do. I don’t know if they will get a divorce, but parents fighting does not mean that they are going to divorce. It just means that they need to figure out a better way to resolve their disagreements. The hard part for you is not knowing if they will divorce. I encourage you to get supports from your friends and possibly from your parents. Maybe they would be open to hearing that you are scared? I, of course, cannot advise you to talk with them because I have never met them. You make that call.

      I hope you can find some peace during your parents’ hard time.

      All my best,
      megan

  14. My parents fighting has been going on for like 6 years and not very often. But recently it’s been more frequent. When they’re both in good moods they’re really nice to each other. But when they fight it’s always really late at night and wakes me up, or every once in a while when were all in the car, I’m usually the only one who hears it. I’m 14 and have two younger sisters who have no clue this is happening most of the time. So I have to pretend that nothing is happening and console them. When my mom leaves to get away from it my sisters come in asking where Mom went and I have to make up and excuse and tell them it’s fine. It’s usually my dad screaming at my mom while she crys. I don’t know what to do. When my mom leaves the room my dad tells me about how she keeps starting all there fights and is being unreasonable when it’s all him. If I ever try to stand up for her he gets pissed and starts to scream at me. He’s such a jerk to her. I just want them to stop. I’ve had to be there for my sisters and grow up and be strong for them at a young age so I have all these feelings I never let out and it’s causing a ton of stress. At school I’m really outgoing and happy so no one knows who scared, mad and depressed I really am. I guess I just need some advice and need to know that there is someone who will listen. Thanks

    • Hi Liv,

      I’m so sorry that your parents’ fighting is hurting you like it is. It sounds to me like their fighting is too complicated and that it is not helpful for you to get involved. It might be helpful for you and your sisters to get support somewhere outside of the family. Is that possible?

      Thinking of you and your sisters. Remember that this is temporary and that you will not always have to be around this kind of fighting in your life. I’m so sorry that you are in the position you’re in.

      Warmly,
      megan

  15. Hi, please help me. My parents fight about twice a week sometimes more (just verbal nothing more) and the shouting and the screaming has taken a toll on my sibling and I. But lately it’s getting worse because my dad has financial problems and he’s been earning less than my mom for a few years now. My mom sometimes throw impolite remarks at my dad about his financial status and my dad is a bit hot tempered so they would end up arguing. What saddens me is that I have a young sister and I don’t want him to grow up like this. I’ve told them a few times (in the car or when we have hwart to heart sessions) that I’m tired of listening to them fight . I usually cried when I told them too. They kept saying that they were wrong and apologized but they will do the same thing again and again. What am I supposed to do? I’m in college now btw but am staying at home. (I’m not from the US or the UK)

    • Hi Jade,

      It sounds to me like you have done all you can do to get your parents to stop fighting. At this point, it seems like leaving the house when they’re fighting might be your only way to avoid their interactions. I don’t know your situation, so please remember that as I make my suggestions. Your parents know how you feel, and they probably are genuinely sorry for you and your siblings being forced to hear their disagreements. That being said, sometimes you just can’t do anything to make it stop. I think your focus should be on how to take care of yourself when they’re fighting (listen to music and shut your door, talk with as friend, leave the house, etc.).

      I’m so sorry they’re still fighting. You will get through this. Just please take care of yourself.

      Warmly,
      megan

  16. Hi, I found this very helpful and thank you. But I’m still unsure about my parents fighting. They’re having a fight right now and it’s been going on for almost 3 days now. Everyday all I hear is my dad screaming and swearing at my mom and making her cry and I try to ignore it but I can’t help but listen to what they’re saying. My dad thinks no one cares about him and he tells my mom to live life without him and I don’t know what’s going to happen. My dad has left the house because of the fight but only for about 10 minutes. I don’t really know what they’re fighting about, but I can’t help but feel it’s not my moms fault because my dad just screams and slams the door and throws things everywhere. Sorry this is so long but I need some advice on what to do. I’m a 13 year old with a 9 year old sister.

    • Hi Emma,

      You and your sister are not in a great situation right now, and I am sorry for that. I don’t think there is much you can do about their fighting, because parents fight about so many complicated things. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself and your sister if possible. My hope is that your parents will figure out what they are fighting about, or seek therapy in order to learn how to resolve conflict in a healthy way. If not, you are going to need to increase the amount of support you get from trusted adults (therapist, school counselor, friends, teacher, etc.). I’m so sorry that you and your sister (and parents) are dealing with this right now.

      I hope this helps.

      Thinking of you,
      megan

  17. My parents are arguing. They do a lot. I hate it when they do. My stomach starts hurting and I can’t stand it when this crap happens. I’m scared they’re going to get a divorce and I know that can’t be answered. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m still scared they will. I feel like its my fault because I butt in on their arguments. But I’m only trying to help. I wanna resolve things. Not make things worse. But everything feels like I’m making it worse.

      • Hello Apple,

        It sounds to me like you have been trying to help. I’m sorry they’re/you’re going through this. I don’t know that you can do anything more to help them; it sounds like they have to find their way through this on their own. I’m sorry. Please take care of yourself and know that their fighting is about their relationship; even if they fight about you, you’re not the problem. Marital fights are about a lot more than the actual subjec they’re fighting about. I hope this makes sense.

        Please take care of yourself.

        Thinking of you,
        megan