All families are different, and the ups and downs of family life have a huge effect on children and young people. The love and support children feel from parents and relatives will give them the strength to grow and develop. But all families go through difficult times and some children and young people can find it hard to get on with parents or siblings.
This can be for a variety of reasons including:
- Different personalities clashing and disagreements over ways of doing things
- Jealousy or fighting between brothers and sisters
- Parents arguing
- Divorce or separation
- New step-parents or step-brothers and sisters
- A parent or relative having mental health problems, disabilities or illness
- A parent or relative having alcohol or drug problems
- Stresses due to unemployment, money or housing problems.
- Domestic violence
- Cultural or generational differences
- The effects of bereavement
- Abuse or neglect
Children and young people often think family problems are their fault, even if nobody has told them this. Changes in the family can unsettle and upset and make children feel insecure and bad about themselves. They may feel angry, anxious or depressed. These feelings can affect other areas of their lives such as school and friendships.
Most families have arguments and struggles, however sometimes we can get so involved in the struggle that we cannot see our way out of it. Sometimes families and young people can get stuck in a situation where they feel helpless, powerless and unable to understand one another. Once stuck in a state like that, communication and relationships can often deteriorate.
When to get help?
If you find that difficulties persist or that relationships are deteriorating, then it is probably a good idea to get help. The earlier intervention can take place, the quicker the recovery. Every person and family has a wealth of resources inside them, but sometimes we need a little outside help to help connect us to our sense of resilience and resource in order to get out of being trapped in helplessness.
If you need help as a family, it does not mean that you are not coping or that you have failed as parents. We all need help from time to time. It is a sign of strength and not weakness to ask for help or support.
Where to get help?
Parenting courses are nowadays offered in all areas. These are courses such as Tripple P; Webster Stratton or other courses such a STOP or FLASH. Most local family centres run parenting courses and some parenting courses are also offered through schools.
Workshops for parents are also available from Brilliant parents at this link:
Your GP could refer you to your local child and adolescent mental health service where there will be many clinicians able and capable to help you. These services, however, can have a very long waiting list. If you want to be seen earlier, you could ask your GP for a referral to a private provider. Any psychologist, family therapist or child psychiatrist should be able to help you. If you would like to see me, you are more than welcome to contact me.
For useful advice and leaflets, click on the following links:
Good parenting leaflet:
Divorce or separation in the family:
Death in the family:
Domestic violence, its effect on children:
Useful addresses and telephone numbers
Cruse Bereavement care
Helpline: 0808 808 1677
Free 24/7 helpline for children and young people
Helpline: 0800 11 11
Textphone: 0800 400 222
Helpline: 08457 909 090
For people under 19 years. Confidential and anonymous email and telephone helpline support run by young volunteers.
Email and online chat via website Monday and Wednesday 6:30 – 9:30 at
Email support for young people between 12 – 16 years. There is on-screen advice about all sorts of things e.g., bullying, relationships, exams, drugs, difficulties at home etc.
A Chance 2 Talk
Helping people to cope with crime.
Supportline 0845 303 0900