Expert chat with LeapCC: Parent problems

Conflict expert, CareyConflict expert Carey from the charity LeapCC talks to us about how to deal with parent problems. Do your mum and dad argue a lot? Do they shout at you? Read on to see what she has to say.

p>[Lindsey: When my mood drops it's obvious, because I know I can be grumpy. But my parents see that I'm moody and start trying to tease me or make me laugh, but it just winds me up until I snap. I try so hard to control how I'm feeling but it's like they keep going and then I start pinching myself or digging my nails in, secretly of course. I feel like they should understand me better (even though I haven't told them what's wrong) and I'm not sure what to do.

Carey: Everyone gets grumpy, it's totally normal. It would be great to think about how your parents can support you when you're grumpy. It sounds like your parents are misunderstanding what you need at that moment.

Jessica: I live at home with my mum and younger sister, and my mum suffers from depression and we have lots of arguments. I get angry quite easily and would love to not get so wound up by things so easily? If I am feeling low, things are worse, but I don't think it's fair on my little sister. She doesn't need to listen to arguments.

Carey: What does your Mum do or say that makes you feel angry?

Jessica: I think it's more if she is having a bad day, like recently she has been under a lot of stress, but takes it out on me. Like she called me heartless towards my family the other day and stuff, she just shouts all the time, and like she is filled with so much hurt and anger.

Carey: I am sorry that sounds really tough. It's a challenge when your Mum has an illness and you are experiencing completely normal feelings. Can you interrupt your thoughts before you get angry - like breathe or count 1 to 10 - sounds simple but it is hard to do when your emotions are high.

Jessica: I could try that, it could help.. I just get so wound up, and I feel bad afterwards.

Carey: I would imagine she is not angry with you - she just needs to vent her frustration - would that help you distance yourself from feeling so hurt?

Alex: Sometimes when I have a bicker with mum I go down afterwards and give her a hug to break the awkwardness. That really helps and I feel better.

Carey: Exactly Alex - a bit of space and time can help us think more clearly

Flora: I struggle when my mum complains to me about my dad and my dad complains to me about my mum! There's only so much I can take. It just makes me angry and I end up snapping at my dad. I hate arguing and I just don't know how to make the relationship better and how to not get so angry, as it's not fair on my sister at all, I hide most things from her.

Carey: Sounds like you are stuck in the middle Flora, and that a really tough place to be. It is not your fault if your parents are fighting.

Flora: I don't have a great relationship with my mum at all and it's not actually possible for me to. I have many times to my dad, but he needs to let it out sometimes so I get it! It's just hard cause I'm in the middle.

Helen: Flora, if you did feel comfortable suggesting some confidential online support to your dad, he could try the couple connection - they have forums and an online chat for older people: http://thecoupleconnection.net/

Carey: Do you think you and your sister are safe?

Flora: yeh, we're safe, cause we have each other and church to go to and stuff.

Carey: I am glad that you and your sister are safe. It sounds like you have some strategies like the church. It important to talk to others as it often makes things feel easier. Sometimes when we feel powerless in a situation it is hard to think of something different to do or say and often doing something different changes the situation. It important to talk to others as it often makes things feel easier.

Liz: With my mother and my father, I have noticed that I have been the problem with many of the fights that they have. It's normally over the littlest of things.. Like coming in 5 mins late from work would just end up in a fight. I am getting used to it now more, but it's my younger sisters - they hate seeing all the fights and stuff. My sisters are even starting to pick up on some of the stuff that the mother and father say to me and are saying it themselves.

Carey: Liz - this is challenging for anyone. Do you why they argue about you?

Liz: Cause I do things wrong apparently, even being in my room causes a fight.

Carey: Sometimes when a conflict seems to be about something little, it's because there is something else underneath that we don't know about or understand. What tends to happen in these situations?

Liz: At the moment my mother asked me for money that I did not have cause I've been working all week so all my money's gone on buses and that. This then caused her to scream at me, and saying she was gonna throw me out again...

Carey: It can be helpful to talk about things at a time when everyone is calmer and happier - it is hard to talk clearly when emotions are running high. That sounds really difficult - you must be tired after work and travelling. Do you have an arrangement about giving her some money?

Liz: Nope, she just like demands it off me and says that if I don't give her it then she's throwing me out, which she had done in the past. I just want to be like everyone else, I'm supporting my family... Which I don't mind doing but I don't want it to always end up this way.

Carey: If you can put your point of view clearly with an explanation it can help. Good luck. You are doing a great job.

Helen: Hey guys, as a few of you have been talking about problematic parents, just want to share our article on The Mix about dealing with problematic parents.

Carey: Okay thanks for your questions tonight - you can look at the LeapCC website. We run courses in London for young people who have conflicts in their lives.

Next Steps

  • Go to Leap to search for conflict resolution training courses in and around London.
  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

Updated on 29-Sep-2015