What can a kid do when life at home becomes unbearable?

RebGijey asks: I’m a 12-year-old kid and my parents are always fighting. They have tons of problems, and always drag me into them, and so I get psychologically, emotionally, physically and mentally affected – even in my studies and school activities. I’ve told them that I’m now planning to move away from them and stay in an apartment or dorm in our school, but they couldn’t even care less. Now, I just need a job to pay my rent. PLEASE HELP ME!!!

Hi RebGijey –

I don’t know where you live, RebGijey, so I can’t speak about the laws on child labor, or about a 12-year-old’s rights to live on their own.  But I can sure say this – your situation sounds AWFUL!

It is possible that your home life could be so bad that the police or some social workers could demand that you be allowed to live elsewhere.  But I don’t know if they could guarantee that you’d be able to stay at the same school.

I feel a little helpless, as there’s just so much I don’t know.  But the main idea that strikes me is about your school – is there someone there you could talk to?  Is there a counselor for the students?  Or could you even talk to the principal or whoever’s in charge?  If your parents can afford to put you up in that dorm, maybe an administrator could talk them into doing so.  Their attitude about you certainly doesn’t sound like they value having you at home very much.

But whatever happens with the dorm, or your ability to pay rent, I’m going to say one other thing that I think is REALLY important:  what you’re going through is unfair, and you’re correct to say that it’s very damaging.  So I’d really like you to find a therapist or counselor.  If you can get one at school, of course that’d be great, but if not, I just want to make sure you have an adult in your life who’s caring and trustworthy and will help you deal with all these feelings and experiences, so that they don’t affect your life in too many bad ways later on.

For now, though, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d stay in touch, RebGijey, and let me know how things go.  And if there’s anything I can do to help, be sure and contact me about it.

All my best,


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