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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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downriver Offline
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Fight with parents - September 10th 2011, 05:18 PM

Hi everyone,

This is the first time I've opened up to advice on the internet about my family issues, and I'd like to apologize in advance if it seems I don't follow the norms of support forums. As for an introduction, I'm 19 and for the sake of anonymity, I won't be displaying my name.

I got into a fight with my parents not too long ago on our way to drop my mom off at work. I didn't stay home last night because I slept over at my girlfriend's house. I did tell my mom that I was staying over, but she said that I had to be home in time to take her to work which begins at 9:30am. I told her I'd be home around 8 to 8:30 to take her. She doesn't have a driver's license and my family shares one car due to financial issues. Next morning, I left my girlfriend's house at 8 and got home around 8:25am, but my parents weren't home. It's strange because we only have one car that we share, and I had the car that night. I thought they both went on their usual morning/night walks, but I realized that it was impossible because it was an hour to 9:30 and there really was no time for them to exercise. I called my dad's cell phone, but he didn't pick up. I checked my voicemails and apparently, my dad left me a voicemail at 7am, asking in an angry tone if I was coming home or not. My phone's battery died during the night so I didn't receive it until I came home.

I assumed that they probably walked to my mom's workplace together, which annoyed me because I did come home in time. So I drove the usual way to my mom's workplace while I called my dad again. My mom picked up, I asked her where she was and she said that they started walking because they didn't know when I was coming home. I found my parents walking and I stopped at the curb, but all they did was stop next to the car and didn't get in. I overheard my mom tell my dad to go home with me, but my dad insisted that they should get in the car so I could drop her off. Being in an annoyed mood, I yelled at them to get in the car. I was parked along the curb near an intersection, so I was worried about cars getting closer behind me. They came into the car, and my dad began yelling at me. He yelled at me saying, "I told you, don't take the car when your mom has work. We can't trust you anymore." And I got angry and began yelling and screaming that I came home an hour early because I didn't do anything wrong. I understood that they began walking because they didn't know if I was coming home or not since my phone was dead and I wasn't picking up, but there wasn't a single time where I took my mom to work late.

How can he say that he can't trust me anymore, when I've always come home at least an hour early to take my mom to work? Not once have I let my mom walk because she has chronic asthma. I have asthma too, so I know how difficult it can be. This is the second time we got into a fight about me coming home in time with the car to take my mom to work. The last night that we got into a fight was when my dad told me to come home to take my mom to work by 11:30. I came home at 11 to take her, but then my mom told me she actually started at 12:45. That got me angry because my dad gave me the wrong information, and the reason why he told me 11:30 was because he didn't know whether or not I was gonna come home in time, when I told them on the phone I was coming home.

I got them to my mom's workplace 40 minutes early, and my dad began to make it seem like it was all my fault. That it was my fault that now they have to wait so long and that it was my fault that they had to walk. I don't know what gave him the reason, evidence, or right, to say that they can't trust me anymore. So I became all belligerent and began screaming at the top of my lungs that I came home at 8:30. I parked in the parking lot, screamed, threw my keys, slammed the car door. I got so angry that I took my house keys and phone from the car, threw my car keys into the car (I pretty much gave up my keys) and just walked home.

The relationship between us in this family isn't that strong. My dad's been laid off for almost 3 years, but recovering from a double bypass. What's annoying is that he has the capacity to get a job, but all he does is eat and sleep. Spends money recklessly too when it's only my mom and I who's working. I'm working so that I don't have to rely on my parents. And this is actually my mom's first job. She's been a housewife most of her life, always taking care of me, my older sister, and my dad. But dad rarely shows affection to us. I don't think there is any affection from him at all anymore, because he never comforts my mom when she's distressed/sad. I don't see him as a father figure anymore. That ceased to exist when he caused drama with my mom's side of the family and forced us to move 2000 miles away.

There's a lot more I want to say, but there's too much. I just don't know what to do. I feel like I'm taking care of my parents now, but I'm only a 19 yr old transfer student. I'm not capable of doing that. I don't see my dad as a great role model. Only my mom because she always works hard to take care of us, despite her sickness.
   
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Dr.Bobby Offline
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Re: Fight with parents - September 10th 2011, 05:50 PM

Well, there's a lot here. There's your behavior (your mom giving you permission to stay out with the pre condition that you be home in time to drive her to work, which you did), and then there's their behavior (them not sharing the convo btw'n you and mom and the arrangement). And then there's the sub plots, the emotionally volatile ones about your dad and your long standing, simmering resentment of him and how your family works together, or doesn't. You may or may not choose to address all that, but for the time being, it might be best to just look at the immediate issue: You followed thru with your commitment to your mom by being home on time to drive her. Why she left early with your dad, and why he apparently was left out of the loop is probably between the two of them, but the result is that you got caught in the cross fire.

It might be best to put the tooth paste back into the tube here and walk this back a bit by discussing the first part here, your 'confusion' about discussing your overnight with your mom, and agreeing explicitly to be back early enough in the AM to drive mom to work, and then returning to honor that commitment, only to have discovered that they left, leaving you 'confused' about their reaction. Maybe apologize for your overreaction (or perhaps, more accurately, your lack of effective explanation), and leave it at that.

If I've got this right, that you and mom agreed on your overnight with the pre condition of being home early in the AM, which you explicitly agreed on and followed thru with, what happened is the result of the other sub plots. That often happens in families where there's a lot of unspoken emotional under toe, but it's just too explosive to deal with, so it comes out (explosively!) in other ways. Sometimes, by merely shining a light on the absurdity of someone's behavior, you rather eloquently illustrate not only your own innocence, but also the real work that needs to be done.


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