Family relationships

Every family is different and while some people may have a loving and supportive family, others may find things tough. We can’t choose who is in our family but we can control how we cope within the family so things don’t feel unbearable.

Fighting with siblings

It can be normal for brothers and sisters to fight and argue but there are lots of things you can do to get on better so you can all have a more peaceful home life.
Some common reasons for arguing with siblings are:

Family hugging

• Jealousy

• Age/gender differences

• Step-families

• Being compared by parents

• Different opinions

• Lack of private space

If you are in this situation try to take a step back and look objectively at your relationship with your sibling. Are either of you going through a hard time outside the family right now (ie: exam pressures, issues with friends, relationships, health worries etc) as that may be causing some of the pressure and may help you understand where they (or you) are coming from.

Trying to get to the root of the problem will help you see what options are open to you and how best to resolve things.

Conflict with parents

Some common reasons for arguing with parents are:

• Feeling misunderstood or not listened to

• Feeling as though you are being treated like a child

• Wanting more independence

• Pressure to achieve at school/uni or to study particular subjects

• Attempts to control who you hang out with or where you go, what time you get in

• Being treated differently or compared to siblings

• Changes in the family such as divorce or separation

• Step-families

• Having different beliefs or opinions

Arguing with parents can be fairly common as part of growing up and becoming more independent. But if you don’t feel safe then you can contact child line on 0800 11 11, call the police or speak to someone else that you feel safe to talk to.

Family break-ups

Family break ups and divorce can be difficult to go through.

When parents separate there can be a lot of confusion and hurt and anger. All of this is really difficult to cope with and it is also quite common to feel a lot of anger towards one or both of your parents and it’s important to get some support with this. student talking on his mobile

Here are some tips for coping

• Make your feelings clear about where you want to live and who with

• Try to maintain a good relationship with both parents (unless you don’t feel safe to do i.e. in cases of domestic violence)

• Talk to someone outside of the family who can support you, whether that’s a teacher, doctor, family friend or a counsellor

• Get any questions you have answered by your parents – you have a right to know what is happening and not knowing can feel worse

• Try not to take sides – if they try to get you to do or say things you are not comfortable with, tell them.

Divorce is a time of lots of change but it doesn't all have to be negative. You may be relieved to not live in a situation where your parents are unhappy or arguing a lot. You might get more quality time with each parent individually. Your parents may be distracted or upset for a while so it is important that you are able to tell them what you need and get support from outside the family as well.

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