Facing family problems

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and can experience all kinds of different problems.

There are many reasons why families might change or break down, and it can be a difficult time for everyone when that happens. Relationships can end for all sorts of different reasons. Remember that it's not your fault and you shouldn't blame yourself.

If your parents are splitting up, or have already separated, you might feel confused, sad, angry, or frightened about the future. Uncertainty about where you might live, who you'll live with and if you'll see your other parent are all natural questions you might need answers to.

If you can, it's a good idea talk to your parents or carers and tell them how you feel, and ask them the questions you need answers to – or you could talk to another adult you trust like a teacher, youth worker or school nurse - our advice on Getting the Support You Need can help.

Step families come together when parents live with a new partner or remarry. Getting used to your parent's new partner or step brothers and sisters can be hard, too, but it's important to realise that you are not alone –  talking about how you feel can make you feel better.

Looking after family members

Parents can have mental health difficulties like stress, depression or issues with alcohol and drugs which impact on their ability to care for you. Sometimes you might even become your parent’s carer and you might be responsible for the cooking, cleaning and shopping. You might even provide personal care or give your parents emotional support.  There are many people who can help you and your family.

Our section on Looking After Someone Else can provide more advice, and links to local organisations that can help if you're a young carer.

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Divorce and separation (Childline)

Sometimes people in relationships split up – but it's not your fault. Find advice and tips to help you cope here