Eleven-year-old Christopher says his parents, now divorced, constantly fought when they were together—and he and his younger brother Colin didn't like it. "It makes us feel sad, and we don't like that feeling, because you make us feel like wanting to run away or something," Christopher says. "It's very hard on our heart."
Gary says fighting is a common problem that's rough on kids regardless of if their parents are divorced or still together. "The difference is, when you're married and your parents have a fight, the kids kind of see you make up a day later, hours later, so they can kind of get through it," Gary says. "When you're divorced, it just sits there and reminds them of all the bad times and the difficult times that happened."
In a situation in which the parents still live together, sometimes the children can feel responsible for keeping the family intact. "When parents are fighting so much and there's so much anger, [the kids] don't go to them because they feel like they've got to keep things stable. The kids begin to be the ones who are trying to keep the house together and stable while everything's falling apart around them," Gary says.