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To Sam

My parents are making me miserable.

I'm 16 and ever since i can remember my parents have ALWAYS been arguing constantly. It's happened so often throughout my life that i'm used to it by now. Sometimes the fights are over small, stupid things and don't last long. But most times, they're serious and they literally act like they hate each other. There are reasons behind it. My dad has to go away quite often for work and when there are problems trying to contact him, my mum gets angry and upset and starts drinking.

That's the other problem. She has an alcohol problem, not a serious one, but it has gotten worse. And when she's drunk, it is hard to get anything sorted, she gets nasty and wont listen. She sometimes storms out the house and we're left worried sick about her. There have been times when she has had accidents and seriously hurt herself. But not even that is enough to put her off. She keeps trying to stop but it never lasts. And when her and dad argue, it's usually when she's been drinking as it makes her more aggressive and makes her mind think all these different things.

There are many more things behind all the fighting and it's so complicated so i wont go into it but these are the main reasons. It's not just down to my mum though, if my dad learnt to make her feel better about herself and was here more and communicated better, she'd probably be able to quit. It's just, i don't think he knows how to be supportive and how to react when they fight. In all honesty they're both stubborn and you can't win with either of them. That's why the arguments are so bad. 

A few days after they fight they become okay with eachother and we have a nice day sometimes. But That doesn't last long as another argument soon starts all over again. Recently, they've been arguing non-stop. Everyday. And i just can't stand to be around it anymore. Especially when me and my younger brother get dragged into it. Nothing we say or do changes anything. I've tried telling them they need some kind of help but they never actually do anything about it. And then sometimes i just think they'd be happier separated or divorced. It'd probably be best for them. But there are issues like finances and the house and stuff that means if they divorced, life would get a lot more difficult for us. But then, with them fighting all the time, we're all extrememely unhappy anyway. I don't think there's anything i can do about it but i try.

Most of the time i go out or try to ignore it, cause i can't take it anymore and i just want to get away from it all. All i want to do is be happy and enjoy my life while i'm young. If you can give me any advice, i'd appreciate it. I just feel so useless and miserable, and have lost hope that things will get better. Thanks.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing to me, I’m really sorry to hear about the way you’re feeling.

You’ve talked about difficult things that you have had to cope with in your life for a while now and I can hear that the pressure of coping with these problems regularly is building up. You deserve to be happy while you’re growing up.

You say you get worried about your mum when she drinks, and you’ve noticed that it is happening more frequently. It might help to have a look at the Parents and alcohol page in Explore. You also said it sometimes happens when your dad is away so I’m wondering who else knows about the drinking, and whether it would be possible for you to talk to your dad, or another adult you trust, about what things are like when he’s not around?

It seems like you feel your mum is putting herself at risk, and it also sounds as though when she drinks you feel under a lot of pressure. There is support available to young people with relatives that use alcohol from an organisation called Alateen. You mentioned your mum has tried to stop drinking - there is a free phoneline for people looking for advice to do with this, called DrinkLine 0800 917 8282. You can also find out more about alcohol problems from Alcohol Concern.

It’s clear you have thought a lot about possible reasons for the way your parents act, and tried to find ways to support them. Although it may feel difficult it’s important to try to remember that preventing these arguments is not your responsibility. It sounds like you feel it would help if your family spoke to other people about what things are like. It can be really frustrating when other people don’t seem to want the help that you are offering. Maybe that is something you could speak to a ChildLine counsellor about.

You could also talk to us about what may help you to cope when you are feeling stressed. It sounds like you feel as though you are dealing with things alone, and sometimes talking to ChildLine helps people feel less alone.

Thank you very much for getting in touch.

Take care,


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