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Family relationships

Each family is different. They are made up of different people, with different needs, ideas and ways of behaving. This can make a family a special group, but can also mean that getting on well with each other is not always easy.

Family relationshipsWhat things can affect families?

You might be worried about:


My parents are arguing, is it my fault?

It can be very upsetting if your parents are arguing, but it is not your fault, even if they seem to be arguing about you.

Parents have a lot of responsibilities and this can be very stressful sometimes. There are lots of things that they could be disagreeing about, but it is not your fault that they are arguing.


  • How can ChildLine help?

    Families are supposed to be caring and loving towards one another. They are the people you should feel most safe and secure with.

    It can be normal for families not to get along with each other sometimes. Every family has problems from time to time, even if they are usually happy and don't often argue.

    Young people often talk to ChildLine about their families. Some people talk about how much they enjoy their family, but others sometimes talk about feeling left out or that they don’t get on with them.

    We're here to listen whenever you need us. Speak to a counsellor free on 0800 1111 or through 1-2-1 chat. It helps to talk.

  • I argue with my parents all the time, what can I do?

    Arguing can make you feel angry and upset, and your parents could well be feeling like this too. Try to talk to your parents calmly. If you listen to what they have to say, they are more likely to listen to you as well. If you feel that you are starting to get angry then try to ask to talk later. Remember you can always talk to ChildLine about how you are feeling and can even practice with us what you want to say.

  • How can I make my relationships with my parents better?

    If you have a difficult relationship with your parents, it can be hard to know how to fix it. Talking to your parents is a really important step in maintaining a good relationship and making a difficult one better.

    You might feel you can’t talk to your parents. Remember, you can always talk to a ChildLine counsellor. We can help you work out what you want to say to your parents.

    Sometimes it's easier to talk about little things. You could start by telling them something about your day, or asking them how their day was. This can help you connect more and make a tense relationship a little bit better. It may also help your parents feel that they can be there for you if you go through a difficult time.

    The ChildLine message boards are a good place to find out how other people feel about their family, the difficulties they have and also things that have made things better for them. The boards can help you see that you are not alone and can be a great way to get tips on how to get through difficult times with your family.

  • How can I deal with my parents splitting up?

    It’s really hard when two people decide to end a relationship, especially when they have children together. There are lots of reasons why people decide to split up.

    Some couples decide to separate so that they can have time and space to work out their problems, or because they are finding it hard to get on with each other.

    It’s important to remember that you haven’t done anything to make your parents split up and you shouldn’t blame yourself. This is something that has been decided by your parents. Talking to them about how you are feeling will help them understand, and they will be able to reassure you about what is happening.
    Find out more information and advice about separation and divorce.

  • I don’t get on with my stepfamily, what should I do?

    It's normal to find it difficult to adjust to a stepfamily. Learning to cope with stepparents, stepbrothers and stepsisters can be a tough and lonely experience. There can be pressure to be a 'perfect family', but it takes time to get to know one another.

    If you're struggling to get on with your new family, you don't have to worry about it on your own. You could try talking to your parents about how you feel. If you feel that you can't talk to them, you can talk to ChildLine.
    Get more help and advice about stepfamilies.

  • What can I do if one or both of my parents are always getting drunk?

    Your parents or carers should be looking after you. It's their job to keep you safe and that may not be happening if they are drinking.  It could mean that they act differently after they have drunk alcohol. If you don’t like what happens or if you feel they may have a problem with drinking, then you should talk to someone you trust. This can be the first step to changing things. If you ever need to talk to someone, you can always contact ChildLine.

    If you’re living with someone who drinks a lot, it might mean that you have to take on extra responsibilities. You might not always have the support you need. For example, you may have to do things like food shopping and sometimes you might have to do your homework without any help. There may be services in your area that can help you with these things. If you would like us to, ChildLine can help you work out what support might be available in your area.

    Get more help and advice about parents and alcohol.

  • One of my parents is abusive towards the other, what can I do?

    Domestic abuse or violence can happen in any family and in all kinds of homes. Even if the violence is not aimed at you, you can get hurt too. You might be in the same or next room when the violence is going on and this can be extremely distressing. The violence or abuse could also be aimed at you too.

    Domestic abuse can mean:

    - Physical abuse - hurting someone by hitting, pushing or kicking them.
    - Emotional abuse - saying things on purpose to frighten the other person or make them feel bad about themself. For example, constantly saying that someone is stupid or ugly.
    - Controlling behaviour - stopping someone by force from acting freely. This can include keeping them from seeing relatives and friends, not letting them have a job or not letting them spend money.

    Telling someone, like a teacher or trusted adult about what is happening can help make it stop. You can always talk to ChildLine for help and support.
    Find out more about domestic violence.

  • What is abuse and how can I get help if it’s happening to me?

    Abuse can mean a lot of different things such as neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It's not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused. But it's important to remember that nobody has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong.

    If you or someone you know is being abused in any way, then the most important thing to do is talk to someone about it. You can contact ChildLine anytime. We will listen to you and will always try to help you.

  • I’m unhappy at home and I feel like running away what can I do?

    If you are feeling unhappy or are being hurt by someone, running away will not make it better. You will have different problems if you run away and are on the streets.

    It is very important that you are safe. If you feel that you need something to change you could start by telling an adult you trust or a ChildLine counsellor about how you are feeling. Read more about homelessness and running away.

  • I’m going to live in care - will I still see my family?

    In most cases you should still be able to see your friends and family, unless it's unsafe or not the best thing for you. You might not be able to see your friends and family as much as you would like to and this can be difficult. Usually your social worker will be able to talk to you about this. They can do things like carrying out checks if you want to stay overnight with friends, to help to make sure this is a safe place for you to stay.
    Find more help and advice about living in care

  • My parents are forcing me to get married, what can I do?

    Forced marriage is when people are made to get married when they don't want to. This might involve physical or emotional abuse. If you can't talk to your parents or another trusted adult about this, ChildLine can help you find the right support.
    Get more help and advice about forced marriage.

  • Where can I get help and support with family problems?

    If you are worried about anything to do with your family or you are having problems, you can get in contact with ChildLine at any time. We're here for you no matter how big or small your worry is.

Other sites that can help

Help and support for children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.
The Hideout

Advice and real life stories aimed at older young people about family life and difficulties at home.

Advice and support for young people with family worries.

Family relationships

Fed up with how things are at home? Or want to get something off your chest? Get help from other young people in similar situations

Visit the home and family relationships message board

Call ChildLine

You can call ChildLine at any time on 0800 1111 to speak to a counsellor. Calls are free and confidential.

Call ChildLine

How did this help?

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Family relationships 


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