I am 16 years old and an only child. My parents are constantly fighting and want to separate but keep insisting on staying together for me. My home situation is very turbulent and I feel responsible for the continuation of their unhappy marriage. Since I am young, they won't take me seriously either when I try to explain to them it’s okay to part ways. What should I do?

The situation that you described must be very difficult for you. Your parents’ decision to stay married or part ways with each other is entirely their own as a couple. It’s important for you to keep in mind that you are not responsible for their marital problems or their breakup. If anything, you are carrying huge emotional burden because of your parents’ troubled marriage. I get this feeling that you feel responsible or more like an adult in this situation and the reality is totally different. You need protection and stability coming from your parents regardless of their issues. My advice for you in this situation would be to focus on yourself, your wellbeing and whatever makes you happy because on some unconscious level, you are mentally fighting their battle for them. If they continue to stay in an unhappy marriage, it is their decision and not your fault by any means.

I failed to get into any university and was forced to take a gap year. I am very upset and cannot shake this feeling of being a failure. Please help.

It’s okay to feel upset and frustrated. You can write about how you feel and how your previous year has been, in a diary. It will help you process your emotions. However, please don’t see yourself as a failure and allow yourself to work on your abilities in the future. Taking a gap year can be a very beneficial thing if you see it positively. You can discover what you really want to do, pursue your passions and travel to new places. You are not a failure as long as you keep learning new things and keep trying to improve on your capabilities. A year’s gap doesn’t mean much when you look at things with an open mind. Set fresh goals for yourself and start working towards them consistently. I hope you will achieve your targets in the coming years.

My parents are forcing me to get married, I'm 22 and just graduated. It's suffocating and I don't know what to do.

First of all, I’m glad to know that you realise that it’s not okay to be forced into a marriage. You need to openly express how you feel and what your reasons are for not getting married at this time. You are an adult and it’s a very important decision of your life. Your choice, happiness and satisfaction are of prime importance. Explain your situation from a logical point of view to your parents if they feel that you are acting from an emotional perspective. People respond well to logic. You can also ask your close relatives to intervene if you find it difficult to convince your parents. Stand your ground without any guilt. All the best.