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Is this okay?

hi sam i’m a 16 year old girl and quite recently as i’ve grown up i’ve realised my parents say really mean things about me. My dad most of the time is a little bit or very drunk and we clash over things like the news and simple human rights that he doesn’t agree with. When we get into these arguments he swears and says he doesn’t care if i think i’m right or wrong. it’s quite scary sometimes. Also, my mum is always really rude about how i look. The other day she told me my legs were fatter my face was rounder and that i wasn’t what i was a few months ago. She says if i eat certain things i’ll just get fat and it’s caused me to have dysmorphia. I can’t really communicate well with my parents. What should i do?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there

Nobody should say things that are unkind or make you feel upset about who you are or how you look. Being called names or shouted at and made to feel frightened are types of emotional abuse. You have the right to express your thoughts, opinions and feelings, and to feel safe where you live.

If a parent or carer says hurtful things it can affect your confidence and make you feel sad or angry about what’s happening. When this happens alot, it can start to have a serious effect on mental health. Home should be a place where you feel happy to express what you think without being judged or criticised. The adults who care for you have a responsibility to help build your self-esteem.

Everyone has opinions and it’s okay to have a viewpoint about things that are important to you. Other people might not agree with what you think but they should still listen, respect your views and be open to calm discussion about what you see differently. No one should put you down or tell you you’re wrong for expressing an opinion, whether it’s your mum, dad or another adult.

Drinking alcohol can sometimes make people react strongly to things, especially when they disagree with what you’re saying.  It might make it harder for them to stay calm and to listen, as well. If your parent is drinking a lot, they might have a problem with alcohol and perhaps need help to reduce or stop. But people don’t always realise they’re drinking too much, or see it as a problem. That’s when another adult, maybe their partner or doctor, might need to step in and tell them that their drinking isn’t okay

If conversations at home usually end up in an argument, or you walk away feeling silenced or misunderstood it might be helpful to communicate in a different way. You could try sending a text message, writing things down or raising the subject when everyone’s calm and no one’s been drinking – what about over breakfast or at the weekend? It might also help, and be safer, to stay in a different room or your bedroom. That way, you might feel less scared or worried when they’re drinking.

If you get on well with another member of your family, like a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or another adult – like a teacher - you could also try talking to them about what’s going on. You could ask them for support with how your parents are making you feel. Online communities are another good place to talk about what’s happening and to ask for advice from other young people.  If you’re unsure where to look to begin with, our counsellors are always here to listen and they can help you find other help that’s available if things don’t get better at home.

I’m glad you wrote me this letter and I hope this advice has helped.

Take care,

Sam.

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