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Family Arguments

To Sam,

I know that a lot of families argue and that it's perfectly normal for siblings to argue as well. But, how can people forget about stress and problems when families argue? Today, I was doing my live lessons and while I was on it, my stepsister was physically hurting my mum and saying nasty things to everybody and my mum was threatening to walk out of the house and never come back. I was messaging my teachers and asking them advice and they just suggested trying to calm down and imagine a calm and peaceful place to make me happy! Well, that lasted 5 seconds before the arguing started again! Is there anything I can do to calm down and forget about stress?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Families argue for lots of different reasons and it can be hard to keep calm when people around you are shouting or hurting each other. Arguments happen sometimes, that's normal, but if they keep happening it can be harder to cope with.

When people around you argue, you might feel stressed and unhappy. You want it to stop straight away but it can take time for people to calm down or figure out their differences. In the meantime, it’s important to focus on what helps you to cope at the time. Try not to react and don’t get involved or take sides if possible. Go to another room and shut the door. Then, if you can, take three, slow and deep breaths to help you feel calmer, then focus on something else.

It might be hard to imagine a calm and peaceful happy place when things around you aren’t like that. As well as deep breaths, you could try counting backwards from 100, naming three  objects you can see, or silently repeating the lyrics to your favourite song. Your mind will probably keep going back to the argument going on but when it does, you can try  focusing on something else. It won’t change the situation but it could help you to cope temporarily with something you have no control over

Arguments at home can affect your learning. If you’re upset or thinking about what’s happening, it can be hard to concentrate on studying. If you’re having live online lessons at home because school is closed you might feel embarrassed or worried about teachers or friends hearing or seeing what’s happening. But just remind yourself, you’re not responsible for other people’s behaviour. It’s also okay to ask a teacher for help when something difficult is happening during a live lesson or while you’re studying at home. And if you feel like you can’t do that, our Childline counsellors are always here to help.

Lots of people are feeling more stressed and frustrated during lockdown because they can’t do their usual activities or see their friends. Sometimes, this makes being at home with the same people everyday, difficult, no matter how well you usually get on as a family.

The effects of lockdown, like the lack of freedom and constant changes can be overwhelming and make people feel angry but it isn’t an excuse to treat other people unkindly.

Thank you for writing to me.

Take care,


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