My father went to England to earn more money. He left us behind – Wazek, my brother who is twelve and me, Tadjo. Our mum works in a factory in Warsaw. We live in a flat on the outskirts of the city. Dad said that if all goes well maybe we can visit him in England. He shares a house with several other Polish people. He sends half of what he earns back home to us. It is good to have more money, but it is not good to have no dad at home. I miss him a lot. So does my mum. Sometimes she cries at night. She thinks we don’t hear, but we do. It’s usually when we’ve been arguing. She used to say, ‘Just wait until your dad gets home’. She doesn’t say it any more. She just tells us to stop arguing and then she goes out and leaves us to it.
I wish we would stop arguing. I don’t know why we do it really. It’s just a way of filling time, I think. We pick fights with each other on purpose. Then we shout and if it gets really bad, we hit each other. We don’t do that much though. It’s not like on telly. They just keep hitting each other on the screen, and no one ever gets hurt. But real life is different. One wallop and it really hurts. It’s not funny at all. So usually we just shout at each other and maybe throw things. That’s not much good either though. Things get broken and then we have nothing to play with. When we shout the neighbours start to knock on the walls. Then my mum goes all pale and begs us to stop. It’s awful really.
It’s not like that at my friend’s flat. I like being there. His family don’t argue like ours. They have what he calls ‘Rules’.
The first rule is: ‘Don’t hit each other’.
The second rule is: ‘If you want to argue you have to say: ‘Wait’. Then the other person says, ‘Why?’ You then tell them what you think is the problem. If they agree, then the problem is solved. If they don’t agree, then you have to say, ‘Let’s talk’.
That’s it really. Talking always solves the problem. Sometimes it’s difficult for people who don’t talk so much, but in a family you should respect each other and try to keep everyone happy. I am going to tell my mum and my brother about the rules. I think we could make them work in our family. We miss our dad, but we shouldn’t need him here just to keep the peace!
Did the story remind you of anything in your life?
How do you normally settle an argument ?
Can you role play a row that you might have and find a way of solving it without shouting, hitting or running out of the room and slamming the door?
What effect do you think watching violent films or computer games might have on young people?