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Families getting along

There are no 'perfect' families. Everyone's idea of what makes a family is different. Some families are small, others are large; some are brought together through divorce and remarriage. Some families have parents of the same sex, some may have one parent, and some families may include grandparents, aunts or uncles or friends. 

Some families seem to get along well, while others have more problems or stress. There are many things that can put a strain on a family, but when families work well and stick together they can survive these problems and even become stronger.

It's important to know what you can and can't change. Some young people have parents or carers with money worries, getting divorced or someone in the family may have died. Sometimes a family can suffer due to alcohol or drug problems. You can't control these things, and it's not your fault but you can change how you relate to people in your family and deal with day-to-day stress. 

  • Talk things out. Although your family members may know you very well, they can't always read your mind. Tell them how you want to be treated, what upsets you and what makes you happy 
  • Don't cut your parents off.  Most parents worry less (and nag less) if their daughters and sons actually talk to them about what is going on in their life
  • You may not agree with all of your parent's rules and beliefs. If your parents are driving you crazy, stop and think instead of lashing out at them. They will be more likely to respect what you have to say if you can organise your thoughts and talk to them in a calm, cool and mature way
  • Respect each other's privacy. If you feel that your privacy has been violated, try to stay calm, and remind the other person of how important his or her own privacy is. Let them know that you don't have anything to hide, but that everyone needs some space and time to themselves each day
  • Families can bring out the worst in a person - but don't forget to value your parents', sisters' or brothers' good points. Let them know you see this side of them as well.  Do something nice every once in a while for someone in your family to show that your relationship matters
  • If you feel stressed, find time to do an activity that you enjoy. Try writing in a journal or drawing a picture of the things that are bothering you, or practice relaxation. Find a quiet place, breathe deeply and think positive thoughts. Your problems won't disappear, but you'll have a chance to step away from your family for a moment and take care of yourself

Sometimes, the best way to cope in a family is to talk to an outside person who can listen without judging you and who can offer you help. There are services that offer free, confidential information, advice and counselling (see our counselling page for more details)

If you are getting physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect in your family, it needs to stop - for your own safety and well-being. You may not be able to control what is happening on your own, but there are people you can trust to help you sort out problems of abuse in your family. Childline offer advice and support, and you won't have to give them your name (see featured links on the right of this page).

If you are having difficulties within your family you can speak to a Youth Support adviser by contacting your nearest Youth Support Centre.

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