A student was staying away from home for the last 5 years. He had to travel back home in March. Now he feels stuck at home in a situation wherein he has to witness constant heated arguments between parents – this was something he was totally unprepared for, having been unaware of the extent of the issues between them. What advice can I give him?
You can explore the situation existing at his home in an objective manner which can include learning how he is perceiving the situation at home and whether he is experiencing feelings of anxiety, irritability, or helplessness. He may be experiencing a change in his perception and emotions towards his parents which may be disturbing. You can explore, acknowledge, and validate his concerns and emotions. On exploration, if he is experiencing anxiety, feelings of helplessness, and irritability. You can focus on ensuring that he maintains a regular sleep-wake cycle, meal timings, daily engagement in physical exercise, and predictable time towards completion of his academic or office assignments on a daily basis. He can engage in some leisure time activities as well. Explore whether a relative or a friend who resides nearby their home can reside at his house for a few days now, this may likely deescalate the emotionally charged situations at home and increase the support and safety for all. The numbers of mental health helplines and references of mental health professionals offering online consultations can be shared for seeking help for his parents. Awareness can be created within him that couples with pre-existing interpersonal conflicts can experience an aggravation of the same during the lockdown as they end up encountering an increased number of interpersonal situations. The long-standing issues of the couple may be difficult to address and resolve immediately. However, he can encourage his parents to consult online a clinical psychologist, and focus can be on resolving the here and now concerns which are leading to escalation of verbal arguments during the lockdown period. This will likely minimize the frequency of experiencing difficult interpersonal situations for them and other family members.
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