Parents Just Don’t Understand



Dear Dharma,

I’ve been having problems with my parents lately. I am 17 years old and for the past couple years all my parents seem to be doing is arguing and screaming at each other. I’ve only noticed it for the past 2 years but it very well could have been going on for longer. I am getting so tired of it.

My mom is so demanding and talks down to my dad like he’s six years old and my dad does nothing but sit around the house. I have a feeling my dad has always been like this but now it’s starting to take a toll on my mom.

I can’t handle it anymore! It makes me fear that relationships and marriage will just end up like this from day one and continue. I don’t think my parents were ever happy. Rumor has it that I was “happy surprise” and they were forced to get married for religious reasons.

I see my other friends’ parents and they are happy as can be. It’s something I want in the future for myself. I want a happy marriage and to help my wife and be a team. I’m scared I will end up like my parents and I don’t know what to do. How do I get them to stop fighting?

Tired of the Fights

Dear Tired,

So for those parents who are unhappily married and are staying together “for the sake of the kids”, please let this serve as a bit of a wake-up call.  You think you’re doing them a favour, and that your misery is all nice and neat in a vacuum, but it really isn’t.

Exhibit A – here we’ve got a 17 kid who is exhausted from all the turmoil, and worse off, is shaping their view on how relationships and marriage work.  This is how they’re going into the world, thinking anger, unhappiness, shouting and fighting is normal.  Is that what you want your kid to duplicate?  Remove head from back side and give your kid a fighting chance, please and thank you.

Anyway, the good news here, Tired, is that your parents are serving as an excellent example of what not to do (ah, they should be so proud to leave that as their legacy) and the best news is that you now get to make choices as you enter adulthood.  Choices as to what kind of grown up you want to be.

And look at you, you already know!  You want a happy marriage and you want a partnership with your future wife.  And you can have that! Just because your parents suck as role models, there’s nothing written in stone saying you need to follow in their footsteps, right?

However, as a side note, these prefect marriages you see with your friend’s parents?  They’re not.  They’re not perfect, because there really is no such thing.  And that’s okay!  Everybody argues, and there are going to be rough patches in any relationship. It’s how couples function in the face of adversity that tells you as much as anything.  Anyone can be happy when times are good, right?  That’s the easy part.

I don’t know what you can do to stop your parents from fighting, except maybe call a family meeting and let them know how it’s affecting you.  How mature and in touch would that make you to pull that off, even if it didn’t change anything…

The main thing to do, however, is to keep cultivating the types of relationships you want to have in your life.  Read stuff about healthy, respectful interaction with others, and emulate the type of behaviour you see in those you admire.

Do not buy into the notion that you have inherited these characteristics and that your life is doomed to mirror what you’ve seen so far.  It doesn’t have to be that way, okay?



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