Hi Achokis. I’m 29 years and the firstborn in our family. We are four children and still leave at our parent’s home. My problem is that my parents quarrel a lot and sometimes, get physical.
Sometimes I wonder if I should move away from home, but I have fears for my siblings that will remain behind. If I leave, I don’t know if the quarrels will escalate.
The worst is that, of late in their trying to resolve their issues, they have forced us to take sides, which I hate doing. Two of my siblings are clearly on my mum’s side.
Of course, this has meant that some privileges have been withdrawn from me as a consequence of not picking sides. Is this what marriage is all about and what should I do?
Thanks Vincent for reaching out for help. Marriage is definitely not a bed of roses, and even if it were, roses have thorns. That fact that your parents have lived together and raised you this far is proof enough that they have had a fairly good marriage.
Marriages go through seasons, there are those seasons, when it is all lovey-dovey, but there are also those seasons when things are tough. There are seasons when there seems to be more arguing than agreeing. Probably this is the season your parents find themselves in.
There is no perfect marriage, every marriage has it’s fair share of issues. Conflict is not bad, the important thing is how we resolve that conflict. On one hand it is good for you to know that your parents can disagree.
It is, however, another thing to see them resolve it effectively. When issues are not handled well, it can cause a lot of anxiety in the children. What many parents forget is that they should provide not just physical, but emotional security. That does not mean that you don’t respect them. They still remain your parents and deserve to be treated with respect.
However, that does not mean that you cannot confront them and let them know how this is affecting you and your siblings as their children. You are now adults.
Let them know you do not like what is happening. You and your siblings cannot be the ones to solve their issues whatever those issues are. You shouldn’t take sides with either parent. You should instead talk to your siblings and let them know that they shouldn’t take sides in your parent’s arguments.
You should manage your siblings even as you assure them that it’s not that bad.
Agree as siblings to face your parents and talk to them as adults. You can make it clear to them that you are not ready to do this anymore. You can then suggest to them that they seek professional help if they can’t handle the issues between them.
If they will not listen then let them know that you will talk to someone they respect like an uncle, family friend, religious leader or grandfather to help.