My parents are avoiding me

What to do when you’re not getting the support you need from your family? Our elder advises that even mom and dad get stressed and offers a few ideas on where to turn for help.

Dear EWC:

Hello, it’s been one week, and my parents are avoiding me. When I get back from my school they always scold me. When I ask help for my homework they ignore it and keep scold me. It hurts me. Recently my dad slapped me because I came home late at night. I’m not playing around with my friend. I’m back from my school and my additional tutoring lessons. They don’t understand me. When I cry they keep scold me, hurting me, not give any solutions. They keep blaming me, every time. I just don’t want to feel sad. It hurts me. Like I can’t focus on my activity. Can you cheer up me and keep up communications with me? I don’t have any friend to talk to about it.

Susan replies:

It sounds like life at home is very hard for you right now and I’m glad you got in touch with us. It’s hard when you feel you can’t talk to your parents and that they are not nice to you. Is this a change from how your parents used to be? Right now, COVID is making many people scared and irritable and hard to be with. Many people are worried about their jobs and money and health, and it often doesn’t take much to make someone mad. The things we used to do to relax aren’t available in many places. Your parents may be overwhelmed with all that is going on. They also may not have the information to help you with your homework, or may just be too tired or upset about other things to even try. It is often easier to get mad than to admit that you can’t help.

I have a couple suggestions for things to do. First, do you have an adult relative, teacher, or religious elder that you could talk to? If this person knows you and your parents, perhaps they can help you figure out why there is so much unpleasantness at home. Maybe that person could meet with all of you and talk. Your parents probably want home life to be nicer too. Or, there are many churches that provide counseling for people in need. And they will meet with students even if they aren’t members. Or you could see if your school has a counselor you could talk to. I don’t know where you are writing from, but there might be other places that can help you. You could search online for “crisis text lines” or “free counseling” or “what are local counseling resources?” Since you found EWC, perhaps you saw other suggestions for counseling help when you did the search that got to us. Some countries have family counselors that meet with the entire family at once; perhaps your parents would consider that.

As far as trying to improve things as home, you could write a letter to your parents asking what they would like you to do differently. You can’t necessarily change their behavior, but you can be in charge of your own behavior. When do they want you home? Do they want you to text them if you will be late? Do they want a written schedule of your activities? What chores should you do? What can you do differently? Often writing is better that asking in person as people can answer the letter when it’s a good time.
You said your dad hit you; I do want to make sure that you feel physically safe at home. If you don’t, could you consider contacting the local police, or searching online for “domestic violence help” and see if that gives you groups to contact for help in your area?

Finally, is there anything you like to do, like listen to music or sing or read books? Try to find something that you do enjoy doing, if possible. Just having a few activities that you enjoy can make each day feel better. Also, exercising, eating healthy, avoiding alcohol, getting enough sleep, and spending time in nature can make you feel better. There are some free apps like Calm and Headspace that can help with deep breathing and relaxation, which should make you feel better. I believe the apps should be available worldwide. If not, search for a free mindfulness app.

I know you said you wanted to be cheered up. There’s no easy way to be cheered up immediately but at least if you try doing the things that you can control, you may start feeling better. I’m glad you wrote. You asked about Elder Wisdom Circle continuing to communicate with you… We can only answer you three times, but feel free to get back in touch.


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