Teen Worries About Parents' Fighting

Illustration for The Banner by Laurie Sienkowski

In our house we fight about politics. My dad’s side of the family is mostly Republican, but my mom’s side is mostly Democrat. I’m a teenager who is sick of the fighting in our house, and I’m scared my parents might want to divorce. What can I do?

The first thing you must understand is that you cannot resolve the conflicts within your parents’ marriage that are highlighted by these political differences. You have a right to love both your parents, but you are not able to mediate or “fix” their marriage.

Think about yourself in relation to the three overlapping family systems you belong to. System one, your parents’ marriage, predates you. As such, only your parents can be in charge of finding solutions to their marital difficulties. System two includes you, your siblings, and your parents, and as executives of the family, your parents continue to be co-responsible for the well-being of their children, even if they were divorced. System three includes all the extended family members—aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

By all means, if you are interested in politics, talk with your siblings or your cousins—the family system where you are on equal footing—and try to promote respectful and informed dialogue. Resolve not to demonize those of your siblings or cousins who have a different view of the political landscape from yours. 

Above all, remember that “principalities and powers” are under the lordship of Jesus Christ, our “King of kings.” Be aware that you, if you identify as Christian, are called to belong first of all to a kingdom that transcends all political ideologies and all family systems. Keep this kingdom of peace and reconciliation of opposites in your heart, even during times of political or family unrest.

About the Author

Judy Cook is a family therapist and a member of Meadowlands Fellowship CRC in Ancaster, Ontario.
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