Is it proper to get mad at my parents because they are putting me into the middle of their arguments?

Question:

My parents are Christians; however, lately my parents have had relational issues that disrupt our family. Many times I'm pulled into the middle between them, and it feels as if I'm the parent trying to keep them decent, so that my younger siblings won't feel like they're walking on eggshells. Lately they've had a lot of miscommunication and heated arguments to the point I'm embarrassed. I get angry at them, especially since they are very dedicated Christians. It makes me angry that they act so like children, and that I feel as if I've been the one to help out each person's weaknesses to the other, so there's peace in our home. But I also question how it's possible for them to be so dedicated to God in their own way, and yet be so far apart from each other. I've been praying to find a way to get rid of this anger, and live in peace, but I'm not sure what to do about it. Do I talk it out with them? I mean they are both adults with a child in her twenties. Why have they not been able to figure it out? It's been about a year now.

I'd really appreciate some guidance. Thank you.


Answer:

I always tell children not to get between their parents and their arguments. The dynamics don't work for a settlement of the problems. If the parents don't like the child's advice, they tell themselves that they are older and (supposedly) wiser. Thus, they rarely admit when they are in the wrong. Too often it degrades into a battle where the parents want the child to take their side.

What I recommend is that you absolutely refuse to get in the middle of their arguments. Tell them to get counseling, but to leave you and the other children out of this. Without a crutch to lean on (you), things may get worse, but more likely they will realize they are going to have to solve these problems. In this you are also going to set the example for your siblings in how not to get drawn into disputes that don't involve them. If your parents try to draw in another child, then step in and tell them that this is not right.

The reason you are getting angry is because you don't have the ability to make them solve their problems. That frustration eats at you and makes you angry. Again, the solution is to realize that you can't make them behave, so you don't take on problems you can't solve.

I can't answer why your parents have not dealt with their problem. Often it is easier to deal with other people's problems than your own. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:3-5).