Problems at home?

Oh, boy. Home life. It’s supposed to be positive and nurturing and caring and healthy. Supposed to be. The truth is, home is not always the sanctuary kids need to thrive and flourish. You know it, and so do we. Are you dealing with domestic violence? Parents or others in the house with drug or alcohol problems? Poverty? Dysfunction? Abuse? Ugh. Just writing these words (and for you, reading them) can create a sick feeling in the gut. But facing reality is what we’re about. Okay, your home life sucks. Big time. Imagine the worst. Now, what can you do about it? You’re just a kid, right? Sadly, yes. Kids are potential “victims” of the adults in their lives. This is what we meant when we said that some things are out of your control.

Even the so-called “best” families deal with these issues. What we’d like to offer here is a list of “magic bullet” solutions to all of these things, but we can’t. They simply don’t exist. But there are some things you can do:

1. Don’t blame yourself. You’re just a kid, remember? If the adults in your world are screwing up, it’s on them – NOT YOU!

2. Talk to someone. Sometimes it just helps to get it off your chest. A teacher. Someone from your church, synagogue, mosque, or temple. A coach. A counselor. A co-worker. A friend. They might be able to offer some useful advice. They may have gone through something similar.

3. Read a book. Believe it or not, you’re not alone. A lot of kids are dealing with the same issues you are. There are some great books out there about kids facing alcoholism, domestic violence, drug abuse, etc. in their home lives. Escaping into a good book can take your mind off your own problems and maybe even give you some ideas for how to deal with things. Click here to see a list of titles.

4. Get out. Go for a walk. Decide on a “safe place” like the library, a park, your grandmother’s, even the mall. Walking isn’t just good for you physically, it helps you clear your head and collect your thoughts. When you need to get out, do so, and go some place safe.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Other resources:

  • Help for everything: HelpGuide is a site dedicated to answering questions and offering suggestions on dealing with all sorts of problems – depression, stress, abuse, bullying, neglect, etc.
  • Alcohol abuse: Eleven million kids in the United States have at least one alcoholic parent. Children of alcoholics face all sorts of challenges. Click here to find answers kids have about dealing with an alcoholic parent. If you are a teen dealing with an alcoholic parent, click here. These sites offer good advice and research on how to cope with a situation you are not responsible for. Others have faced these challenges, and they want to help. Find out if there is an Al-Anon/Alateen meeting near you, and try to attend.

It’s not your fault! Remember, when your parents or other family members do the wrong things, it’s not your fault. Focus on yourself and on making good decisions about your own life.