In an ideal world our families should be the place we feel safe and secure, and where we learn about having good relationships with people. But sadly parents, carers, relatives and siblings may not always behave in a way that makes us feel happy and cared-for.  

All families go through difficult times and this can be for a variety of reasons:

  • Different personalities clashing and disagreements over ways of doing things
  • Jealousy or fighting between brothers and sisters
  • Parents arguing 
  • Divorce or separation 
  • New step-parents or step-brothers and sisters 
  • A parent or relative having mental health problems, disabilities or illness 
  • A parent or relative having alcohol or drug problems
  • Stresses due to unemployment, money or housing problems.
  • Domestic violence 
  • Cultural or generational differences
  • The effects of bereavement 
  • Abuse or neglect

You may think family problems are your fault, that’s common and it’s probably not the case. Changes in your family might unsettle and upset you and make you feel bad about yourself. You might feel angry, anxious or depressed. If you can, talk to someone you trust – a friend or teacher perhaps. If that’s not possible you can call Childline on 0800 1111. You can talk to Childline about anything - no problem is too big or too small - or get in touch online at It’s confidential and you don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to.