North Ayrshire

If you'd like to talk to someone about a worry Call ChildLine on 0800 1111
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Lots of things can happen in families that cause children to feel worried.

Family Illness

When someone is not well they might act differently than usual and this can be quite frightening. You might see or hear things which are scary. It is also very common for children to worry about people they love dying or to worry that they might get the same illness as the person in their family.

If someone in your family is ill, try and find a quiet time to talk to another family member about what is happening. Adults try and protect children from painful things and don’t always realise when a child or young person needs to have a bit more information.
Parents Arguing

It’s very common to worry about parents arguing a lot or parents splitting up. Some couples argue a lot but still have a good relationship otherwise. Some couples argue a lot and this ends up meaning their relationship isn’t working out and they decide to split up. These situations are very, very hard for children. Try and remember that your parents still love you very much and that their relationship with each other is separate from their relationship with you.

It’s common for children to think that they have done something to cause the arguments or the separation. Please try very hard not to think this because children are never to blame for this kind of situation – it’s just a sad fact that sometimes relationships don’t work out. It’s upsetting seeing people you care about hurt each other and it’s difficult to cope when things change such as when someone moves out of the family home. Try and find someone to talk to about how you are feeling, maybe someone who has been through a similar thing.
Domestic Abuse

If an adult in your family is bullying others to make them do what they want, this is called domestic abuse. Sometimes people are nice to others outside the family but behave very differently at home.

It is very frightening for anyone to be in this situation and sometimes it can become dangerous. If you are living with domestic abuse you probably just want it to stop. Domestic abuse is not your fault. Here are some things you can do, or not do, to help you stay safe when domestic abuse is happening. Firstly, don’t try and stop it You might want to try to stop the fight to protect the person who’s being hurt. But trying to stop fights can be dangerous and you might get hurt. Phone the police Instead, you could phone the police by dialling 999. The operator will put you through to the police. The police will ask you for your name and address. They will also ask you what is happening and who else is in the house with you. If it’s safe, the police will ask you to stay on the phone until they arrive. If it doesn’t feel safe to call the police from your home, you could call from a phone box, a neighbour’s or a friend’s house. Find a safe place, there may be places in the house where you go to feel safe when there’s a fight. You should keep on doing this. It is good to stay away from the fight so that you don’t get hurt. Tell someone, it can help to talk to a friend or adult you trust. If there’s a fight at home you can phone them and let them know what’s going on so they can help.
Criminal Behaviour

Someone in your family might be doing things you know are wrong and you might worry they will get into trouble. Maybe the police have been involved with your family and you are worried they might come back or that someone in your family will go to prison. If a member of your family is in prison, you might have a lot of different feelings about this. You might love them and miss them a lot but also feel a bit angry towards them because they are not at home with you. You might wonder when you will see them again or how things will be in the future.

Try and find someone to talk to about this. It’s too big a worry to keep to yourself.
Alcohol and Drugs

You might be worried if someone in your family is taking drugs or drinking a lot of alcohol. This can make people behave in a way that is quite frightening. This behaviour can sometimes make it hard for adults to remember what they need to do to look after children. Children might not be getting looked after properly by not having enough to eat or warm clothes to wear or somewhere safe and quiet to sleep.

If your parents uses drugs or drinks too much alcohol, it’s not your job to help them change. It’s their job to look after you. If you are worried about someone who is taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol, please talk to someone. There are lots of people who can help.
Young Carers

If a parent or carer in your family has any of the difficulties we have spoken about above, this is likely to affect you. You will probably have lots of different feelings about what is going on – sad, angry, confused, upset, worried – or you may even feel a bit numb. When you worry about things, sometimes your behaviour changes too.

You might find it difficult to concentrate, or to get to sleep at night. You might find you are getting into trouble more than usual – again this can be a sign you are worried about something. Because you are affected by what is happening, this means that you need a bit of help and support too. Lots of people around you would want to help if they knew you were worried. Please talk to someone and get some help. Sometimes, if parents are unwell or have problems with alcohol or drugs, children and young people do things that are normally done by adults and it can become a bit like children taking care of adults instead of the other way around. When this happens, children and young people are called “young carers” and it is important they get support so they can enjoy doing fun things like other people their age, instead of having too much responsibility. This doesn’t mean that it’s not a good thing to help parents and carers who need some extra support, it just means that you deserve to also have fun.
Getting Help

Most families have worries from time to time. Because of this, there are lots of people who have jobs to help families. These people help families sort out their worries so that everyone feels happier and safer. If you are worried about something that is happening in your family, please tell someone about it. Try someone in your family first of all if you can. They might not have realised that you were worrying. If you can’t speak to a family member, try talking to another adult you trust such as a friends parent, a teacher, or someone at your church or youth group.

If you find it difficult to talk to someone around you, or if you feel you are not being listened to, call ChildLine on 0800 1111.
Families can be complicated