Help: I can’t focus on my work because everyone in my house is shouting

We got a message through from a few people preparing for exams but who find it really hard because their houses are so loud. Here are some ideas for you:

Answer: Is it A) just the loudness of the noise or B) what is being said / going on around you?

A)If you think it’s just because your family talk loud to each other all the time, it may be that they haven’t learnt good communication skills over their life: Sometimes, to get extra attention, people shout. The problem with shouting, it can sometimes sound more angry than it’s meant to, and so shouting isn’t always the best way of communicating a clear message. Why don’t you try to help your family to speak quieter and slower: Don’t just say ‘Stop shouting’ because they may just shout back to you ‘I’m not shouting’ because they have no idea how loud they are. Sometimes talking to someone, pretending you’re going a bit deaf, and asking them to repeat what they said to you back clearly and slowly, strangely they often will reduce their volume. If you really don’t want to hear them, you can always buy ear plugs (the cost about £2 from Boots Pharmacy) or noise cancelling headphones (but don’t always just put on music as it can just be another load of noise!).

B)If you’re worried that your family are having lots of fights and arguments, and you’re concerned for their safety or concerned about what they’re saying then it can be really hard to focus on you work. Before you let your thinking affect your working think about this:

1) It’s OK for Parents to Argue Sometimes
Everyone argues from time to time. They might disagree about important things like finances, careers, or major family decisions. Or they might disagree about little things that don’t seem that important — like what’s for dinner or what time someone gets home.
It can be easy to jump to conclusions when you hear parents arguing. Thoughts might pop into your head like, “Does this mean they don’t love each other anymore?” Or, “Are they going to get a divorce?” But arguments don’t always mean the worst. Most of the time, they’re just a way to let off steam when parents have a bad day, don’t feel well, or are under a lot of stress. Like you, when parents get upset they might yell, cry, or say things they don’t really mean.
It’s natural for people to have different feelings, opinions, or approaches to things. Talking about these differences is a first step in working toward a solution. People in a family need to be able to tell each other how they feel and what they think, even when they disagree.

2)When Fighting Goes Too Far
Sometimes when parents fight, there’s too much yelling and screaming, name calling, and too many harsh things said. Although some parents may do this, it’s not OK to treat people in the family with disrespect, use degrading or insulting language, or yell and scream at them.

Occasionally fighting goes too far and includes pushing and shoving, throwing things, or hitting. Even if no one is physically hurt, an argument has gone too far when one parent uses threats to try to control the other through fear. It’s never OK if a parent does things like these:

  • threatens to hurt someone
  • destroys the other’s property
  • threatens to commit suicide
  • threatens to leave the other parent
  • threatens to report the other parent to protective services

When fights get physical or involve threats, it’s usually a sign that the people fighting could do with some help controlling themselves and managing their anger. This may mean speaking to a doctor, therapist, or religious leader or calling a helpline.

3)What About You?


It’s hard to hear parents yelling at each other. Seeing them upset and out of control can throw you off — aren’t adults, especially parents, supposed to be the calm, composed, mature ones in a family? How much parents’ fighting bothers you might depend on how often it happens, how loud or intense things get, or whether parents argue in front of other people.

It’s natural to worry about a parent who may feel hurt by what the other parent says. Maybe you worry that one parent could become angry enough to lose control and physically hurt the other. With all this extra mental and emotional turmoil, you may start to feel the signs of stress, like being tearful, getting stomachaches or headaches, or having trouble sleeping. If parents’ arguments start to get in the way of how well you eat, sleep, or pay attention in school, talk to a school counselor or teacher, or put a message on My Turn Around Message board and we’ll see whether we can help.

It can be especially upsetting if parents are arguing about you. But your parents’ arguments are never your fault. Parents are responsible for their own actions and behaviors, no matter how much they are provoked by another person.


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