How a teenager can help their parents with their problems

Rozaeliyana asks: Hi, Shirelle. If our parents have problems, what should we do to solve them, and not to stress out about them all the time?

Hi Rozaeliyana –


Well, clearly you are a person with a great heart.  You look at your parents, and you want to help them with their problems.  That’s wonderful.

And I have to admit, I’m of two minds on this.  (Impressive isn’t it; most dogs wouldn’t even have one opinion!)  First, I don’t know your age, but if you’re under, oh, 22, I’m inclined to say that it’s not your responsibility to solve your parents’ problems – it’s their job to help you with yours!  They’re adults, and they should be able to take charge of their lives and work to fix whatever’s wrong with them.

But the other side of me says “Good For You!”  Because so often, when people have problems in their lives, they don’t really see it as clearly as others do.  And you’re in a particularly good “vantage point” to see your parents’ problems, because you’re affected by them all the time!

So here’s my general advice: Keep Watching.  If there’s something going on that you can really help with (maybe one of them is always being browbeaten by a mean boss at work, and it would do wonders for them just to have you walk up and say “I think you’re the best person in the world!”), then of course you can do it and it will mean more to them than you’ll ever know.  But if the problem is bigger – maybe your parents aren’t getting along right now and are even thinking of breaking up – your job might really be to take care of yourself, and stay out of the way of their anger!

Sometimes parents love seeing their kids try to help them, and sometimes it makes them feel insulted.  This doesn’t mean they don’t love or respect you; it’s just that they feel that their problems require knowledge and experience you don’t have yet.

The one thing I can be sure of, though, is that your parents don’t want you stressing out over their problems.  They want to feel that they’re good, strong, supportive, and giving you the best life possible.  So if there’s any way for you to relax, that’ll make everyone happier (especially you).

But if you can’t, there are things you should do.  Of course, as I said above, if you can really help, then that’s great.  But if not, you should find someone to talk to about what’s wrong.  Of course you can always write me, but it would be even better if you had someone face-to-face you could talk with, like a counselor or a therapist.

So really the best thing would be if you could let me know what you’re trying, and how it’s working out.  And maybe then I can help you decide what best to do.

But for now, just know that the fact that you asked that question proves that you’re a really wonderful person, and that your parents are lucky to have you around.


Good Luck,



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