DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m afraid my parents are about to get divorced. They have been arguing nonstop for a long time. Recently it has escalated. The crazy thing is, I just moved back in the house after graduating from college. I’m here for a short time until I can get on my feet. Who knew that I would walk into a war zone? They were fine before I left four years ago, but it’s different now. They don’t seem to notice me much, but I want to help. What can I do? -- In the Middle, Stamford, Connecticut
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: Consider it a blessing you are at home during this stressful period. Be careful as you investigate what’s going on. Talk to each parent separately and ask what their intentions are. Find out if they think there is a chance or desire for repairing their marriage, or if they feel it’s over.
If either of your parents wants to stay together, suggest they go to counseling to work through their problems. If they both sound like they are ready to end their marriage, encourage them to take action rather than beat each other up emotionally as they are doing now. They owe each other the respect of dissolving their marriage with some sense of decorum. Tell your parents that what you are witnessing is scary and miserable for you. Ask them to treat each other better, even if they are about to sever their bond.