Dear Counsellor,

Dear Counsellor,
I am usually a very good student and I get good grades. However, my parents seem to fight a lot and it is beginning to affect my performance. I worry about them a lot. My teachers have noticed and they are concerned but I don’t know how to tell them. How can I get through this or help them? Yours Olivia

Ask family members to intervene

It’s painful to watch your parents yell at each other or physically fight. No child deserves to grow up in such an environment. A key aspect of emotional development in children is learning how to regulate emotions. In fact, research has it that children who are prone to negative emotions or episodes of anger are deeply affected by hostile and neglectful parenting, often leading to even more behavioural problems. It’s clear that your parents’ fights can potentially pass long-term psychological, social and physical trauma to you and can impose on the levels of your academic concentration.

This is outrageous but all you need to know is thatit’s not your fault that things are out of control.While you’re certainly an important part of their life, they make decisions that are between the two of them and it’s purely an individual choice to choose to fight rather than apply diplomatic and non-violent ways to resolve conflict.

Don’t allow this situation to interfere with your studies. Your parents are mature enough to figure out what’s right and wrong. They determine their own destiny; you decide your own future. This, however,should be a learning platform for you to discover that couples sometimes disagree and that anger is a normal legitimate emotion but, disagreements can only be solved amicably and constructively without escalating into a fight.

Nonetheless, just because they don’t get along doesn’t mean they’re not good parents. If you feel you can do something to prevent them from fighting then do it.  Although you have no capacity to dictate the amount of love and respect that they should give each other, talk to your parents about their vows. Find a respectful way to remind them that they promised “for better or for worse” and feel free to tell them how their fighting is affecting you.

You might want to spend some time strengthening your own relationship with them individually and collectively, so that regardless of what happens, your relationship with them doesn’t deteriorate. And try as much as possible to keep out of their conflict.

I recommend that you find other supportive family members and friends to talk tothem about the situation and how it’s affecting you psychologically and academically. Discuss the matter with your study mentor or a trusted teacher to see how they can help you cope with your situation. Also, call for help if you witness actual violence; violence can lead to death. Be strong and set your career goals because that’s the only route to independence and a bright future.

Their thoughts...

Maureen Mutoni, Business student

Reach out to your parents and let them know how the situation is affecting your school performance. It’s obvious that your parents are not aware that their behaviour at home has an impact on you and your academics. They will understand.
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Patrick Iradukunda, Architecture student
Though adults fight or have misunderstandings, they never wish for their children to be affected, or to end up like that in the future. You need to bring this matter to the table with both of them present or alternatively, the one you are most comfortable with. Let them know how mutual love and understanding will helpall of you thrive. Don’t worry; your parents will listen to you.
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Henoc Tenday, Engineering student
Well, this is unfortunate, but since your teachers have noticed a problem, it’s better to seek their assistance. Let one of them talk to your parents regarding the situation at home, butonly in relation to your academics. Your parents will listen to your teachers because they care about your studies.
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Laurier Mugisha, engineering student
Talk to your relatives. Remember your relatives are also your family and they care about you so they will talk to your parents and resolve the problem. It’s nice that you wish to help your parents and through your relatives, you will achieve this. 

 

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