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To Sam

Grandma is ruining my life

Dear Sam,

I am the eldest out of my siblings, I have three younger brothers. I am currently living with my parents and my grandma is also currently staying with us as my grandad has recently passed away. My grandma doesn't like my mum and always tries to create problems between my mum and dad by lying and saying horrible things about my mum to my dad. My dad believes this and always argues with my mum and sometimes he gets violent. My mum has nowhere else to go as she has no family and doesn't have a job as she had to leave to look after my younger brother. I have exams due and I can't concentrate because there's always arguments in the house. I don't know what I can do, please help. Thank you.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Having problems with the people we live with can make you feel stuck. If there’s something wrong at school or with friends then your home can be a shelter away from it. But when the problem is at home, it might leave you feeling trapped and like there’s no way to change things. Finding a way to cope is usually a good first step, until things get better.

The most important thing to think about first is looking after yourself and making sure you and your brothers are safe. Dad being violent is something that shouldn’t be happening, as you all deserve to be safe at home. If you ever feel unsafe or in danger you can call 999 for help.

We all need space to relax and home is usually the place you can do that. But if something is making home a difficult place to be, you could try spending less time at home and spending more time at school or with friends. Revising for exams at school in the library could be a good way to make sure this doesn’t affect your studies.

Looking after yourself may also mean that you can find things that make being at home less stressful. This could be using something like music to distract yourself from what’s going on around you. Finding out how to cope is a very personal thing and so you‘ll need to find what works for you. A good place to start is thinking about what you enjoy doing the most and going from there.

Once you have taken steps to look after your own feelings, then you might want to think about how you can help things to change at home.

People are all individuals with their own thoughts and feelings, and when you have lots of people living in one place, it’s likely there’ll be conflict. Your granddad passing away may also have made people’s feelings more visible. It doesn’t make what’s happening okay, but it might help you understanding why it’s happening a little better.

Talking about these things is often a good step towards changing them. You are in the best position to decide who to talk to and how to bring it up, but try and think about whether there is someone you can talk to within the family who might be able to see that there is a problem and it needs to change.

If you’re unsure about how to approach it then it’s usually good to get some outside perspective – this could be from an adult you trust or it could be by talking with a ChildLine counsellor. Talking to us can often help you decide what you want to do next.

I hope that helps, thanks for the letter.

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