My parents are the two best people I know. They both love each other, and wouldn't dream about even considering getting a divorce. But sometimes they lose sight of that. Recently, they've been getting into a lot of fights. I think it might have something to do with stress, or some other issue, (Me and my two older brothers are going off to college this fall) but whatever it is, it's gotten worse in the past couple of months.

We are originally from the US, but we don't live there all the time. Every time we travel back to the US, my parents have to get new phone numbers. My dad found a way to keep the phone numbers the same while we live abroad and in the US. My mom told my dad that she would rather get a new number than hassle with a third-party app. Then it escalated.

Some time after the fight was over, my mom went and apologized. My dad gave her the silent treatment and just sat there. This isn't the first time this has happened either. They don't deal with the issues that are bothering them and causing them to fight, they just forgive each other and brush it under the rug for next time. It feels like a pressure vessel that is getting ready to explode. It doesn't help that they are under an enormous amount of stress, and it might even boil down to some other issue that isn't even related to the problem.

How can I help them talk to each other to deal with their issues? I feel like its just one miscommunication after another. They don't tell each other how they feel, or what the problem is, they just drop it and move on.

1 Answer 1


First of all, don't worry too much about this yourself. No couple avoid arguments altogether, and it is often said that how two people deal with their differences is more important than the things they have in common. In your anecdote, your mum apologised and they both forgave each other, eventually. That says to me that they are dealing with the conflicts as they arise.

Of course, you don't want them to have the arguments in the first place, so what you likely want them to deal with is, not the individual arguments, but the root cause of the regular fights. If there was something important that they were not talking about - an "elephant in the room" - then yes, you would be right in trying to get them to talk about that. But again, you have mentioned that these things seem to happen when they are under stress. If the root cause of their stress is something like financial pressures for example, that is not easily taken away. Nearly all adults, especially those with children, have to be constantly concerned with their income and expenses. But that is just one example - there may be other practical everyday aspects of family life that may be their source of stress.

Rather than get them to talk about "issues" which, if they are normal sources of stress like the ones I mentioned, they almost certainly have already talked about, why not just talk to them about how their arguments make you feel? Perhaps say:

When you fight like you did [cite a recent example, eg "last night"] it creates a very stressful atmosphere and it upsets me. The stress isn't good for me and I'm sure it is not good for you either. I appreciate that you must have real, practical things to worry about, and I appreciate all that you do for me, but I think you should both try and manage your stress better.

If they respond, talk to them about some things that might reduce stress. This article from the UK National Health Service contains some practical suggestions for managing stress. Remember, there are certain sources of stress that cannot be removed. This is about managing that stress in a better way.

I hope this helps.

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