Mommy, Daddy, Stop Fighting
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Mommy, Daddy, Stop Fighting

Mommy, Daddy, Stop Fighting

Four points a child wished her parents knew about fighting.

by

At the conclusion of a lecture on shalom bayit – how to create peace in one’s home, I asked the audience if they had any comments or questions. A hand shot up in the back. It was the teenaged girl who had come to help set up the room for the program.

“Everything you said tonight is true,” she said. “Especially what you said about the fighting. If only my parents were here to hear your words. I get so upset, sometimes even frightened when there is all this arguing going on in our house. I wish I could tell this to my parents. So all of you sitting here tonight, please take this message home. ”

Here, then, is this young teen’s wish; perhaps her parents may be reading this article. There are too many kids out there who cannot express themselves but hope that perhaps their parents can come to a better place of understanding.

1. Stop Fighting in Front of Us

Our family is in chaos. Behind the social mask we wear we are disconnected. Whenever you fight it makes us feel vulnerable. We know that it is not possible to always get along, but why can’t you disagree with dignity? Why can’t you have your discussions privately and respectfully? Why must you wage your battles in front of us? Whether it is cold war or heated arguments, it doesn’t matter. Both wear us down and make us feel as if our home is not a safe haven. We do not want to live in a battle zone. We will start looking for other places and people to spend our time with. We will seek an escape.

Related Video: Anger Management

2. Don't Argue about Us

Too often you quarrel about the way the other one parents. You accuse Daddy of not knowing how to do anything right with us. You accuse Mommy of letting us get out of control. You act as if we are a burden. When we see you fighting because of us, we feel responsible for your arguments. We think that we are the ones to blame because you can’t seem to get along. We find ourselves feeling guilty and trying to make the hurt disappear. We struggle to help you find resolution. “Don’t worry," we say, as we try to wipe away Mommy’s tears. “It’s okay, Daddy,” we say bravely, when things don’t turn out perfectly. We just want to live in peace.

3. Don't Use Us as Pawns

Don’t give each other the silent treatment and expect us to carry messages between the two of you. “Tell Daddy I’m going out” when Daddy is standing right in front of you, or “Tell Mommy I’m not hungry now” when she is sitting at the same table as you. This makes our life dark and complicated. How can we ever expect to learn how to communicate with our own spouses if we see such dysfunctional communication between the two of you? We are your children, not chess pieces that are manipulated till you reach a moment of check mate.

4. Don't Undermine Each Other

When we ask Mommy if we can go to a sleepover and she says “no, not on a school night,” and then we run to Daddy, and he says “yes, what’s the big deal?” we smell weakness. We see that you are not in sync and we know that we can manipulate you. It may sound funny but we would rather believe that that two of you stand together and firm as one unit. Even if we don’t like what you say, we feel strength when you agree and say it together. It means that our family is solid. We need you to speak with one voice. It removes the confusion and does not allow us to speak with chutzpah. Because you must know, Mommy and Daddy, that chutzpah and disrespect come when you do not respect each other’s opinions. How can we respect you if you do not respect each other? And a home filled with disrespect has toxins in the air.

While it is not always easy for us to live together as families, we can decide to live by certain rules of dignity, even when we disagree. No matter how stressed or challenged we feel, we must know in our heart of hearts that we have been given precious children to watch over and take care of. They are priceless gifts. Let us resolve to build homes in which they feel secure and loved. Let us wake up each morning and ask ourselves what we can do to raise the next generation successfully. And one day we will have the joy of watching our children build their own havens, knowing that we have shown them the way.

Published: December 24, 2011


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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Anonymous, June 1, 2014 12:51 AM

My thoughts match

When my parents were fighting I was so upset that I went online and found this this is the exact thing that happened to my parents. I think this article matched my thoughts so much and it was so beautiful that I reed it to my parents thank you for putting this online it was the most helpful thing

(4) Basya Neilson, December 30, 2011 11:45 AM

Enough with the cold war

A beautifully written article and exactly to the point. We love our parents so much, it hurts us to see them argue. Do you want us to take sides? How long will you give each other the silent treatment. What if I need help? Will you both work together to ensure that I'm safe? Or is your pride too important? How can we be a family if we aren't able to sit at the table to talk without animosity? Sure, every one is entitled to their own opinions, but you have to listen to each other with respect. That teaches us to respect others. If you must yell, are you yelling because you feel you're not being heard, or because you're trying to drown out the other person's voice? I don't compete. I'm not going to yell over someone else's voice. I'll just remain quiet until you stop arguing. Until you can listen to each other with respect. I don't want to burden you with my point of view, if you're too busy worrying about your own. Have your own opinions. Share them. I want to hear them. But let everyone contribute to the process, and make joint decisions. Since Daddy is the head of the household, he should be the one making the final decisions, and we should all respect them. But his decisions should be based on what's best for everyone and taking into account everyone's point of view. While you're yelling, could you take into consideration one other thing? I hear you. It hurts my ears when you yell too loud. It's music to my ears when you speak to each other with respect. Love you always, Basya

(3) Anonymous, December 25, 2011 11:58 PM

so true

this is a great article. nearly all my bad childhood memories consist of my parents arguing, usually my dad shouting at my mom. whenever this happened, whether i was 5 or 15, i would retreat into my bedroom and wish i could run away. it was the most terrible feeling. but when my parents were happy and showed love and respect to each other, i would feel inexplicably happy and confident the whole day. it makes such a difference, parents have no idea.

(2) Hailex, December 25, 2011 5:48 PM

Terrific Article

I only wish I had read this 20 years ago! So true it hurts my heart.

(1) Anonymous, December 25, 2011 3:25 PM

Picture is decieving.

Perhaps your next article could deal with the teenager who has become the referee peeling away his parents from physical blows and hurt in the melay but no one will give a damn as that will flag child abuse. That would be an article I'd relish to read. A few questions if I may. Without any money or transportation where would a child go to avoid waring parents? As most arguments are about money, sex and/or control is it realistic to even suggest, "Don't argue about us". I'd comment that most childrens weddings are marred by the deep knowledge that "daddy wants you outa da house already"ready or not. The best you could hope for in my opinion is some community standard of dielectric isolation. #3 is an excellent point. I'd have gone further and state that children who've been indoctrinated to be the messenger boy/girl have been taught the fundamentals of Loshon Hara by their clueless parents. With no example of sense of privacy why would a child not learn to spill the beans later in life? Not ten days ago I attended a large community funeral for a child who passed at the ripe age of nine years old. A record of longevity for a child born with Tay Sachs. I still feel feel blown away by the fathers statement that the physical needs of his child were never a burden to him. Eight years of round the clock nurseing must have cost at least an ivy leage college tuition yet no complaint of burden. Raising a child with simcha insures he/she will want to do the same. Raising a child bickering over every credit card statement insures that those children will never want to repeat that awfull process.

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