Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Am I a young carer?

Hi Sam,
I often help a lot to look after my little five year old brother who is autistic. I know my mum relies a lot on me to help with him, she's told me she would not bad able to do things like the weekly shop or things like that without me there to help with him.
My head of year at school has referred me to a young carers project. She did this as I am struggling at school and at home due to stress of GCSEs and feeling like I have no time for hwk or revision due to having to help look after my little brother.
I am unsure as to if I qualify to be in this project as I am afraid that I will be wasting their time. I don't look after him full time and I have both my mum and stepdad at home to help as well but sometimes I feel as if I am the one who has to deal with him the most, for example my mum needs me to be sat in the room with him while she cooks tea or gets ready in the morning, when I see most five year olds can stay by themselves for a similar amount and of time.
I know at my age it is expected for me to do chores such as washing up or putting the washing machine on, but I feel as if between being dragged downstairs to look after my little brother and doing these chores there really is no time to do anything else such as homework.
Please reply soon
Thank you in advance
V xx
Ask Sam



Thank you for your letter.

It sounds like you’re coping with a lot right now and I’m really glad that you decided to write to me. There are lots of reasons that you might be finding things hard if you’re looking after your little brother a lot.

Young carers are children or young people who look after a member of their family who can’t care for themselves. Caring for someone can be hard especially when you’re not an adult and particularly as you are trying to revise for your GCSE’s.

It sounds like your teacher understands a little about what you’re going through. It’s a really good idea to think about getting some extra support. Talking about how you’re feeling and what you’re worrying about could also really help you.  

There’s lots of different support available for young carers. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for the project, you could go along to meet them anyway. Doing this might help you make up your mind and decide if it’s something that you’d like to do more often. You can find out more about this on our page about young carers.

It might be that they could arrange to give you a break from looking after your brother so you can do your revision, see your friends or even just have some time to yourself which is really important too.

It’s okay to want things for yourself as well as looking after your brother.
If you would like to talk with other people who are also caring for someone, you can take a look at our message boards for young carers.

If you’d ever like to talk to a ChildLine counsellor about how you’re feeling, there will be someone here to listen – you can ring our free number 0800 1111, have an online 1-2-1 chat or you can send an email.

I hope you get in touch with us again when you’re ready.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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