Sometimes being part of a family is really great! We can feel love and warmth from those closest to us. We can spend time with them easily and do things together. Some of us have two parents like a mum and a dad, perhaps a sibling or two that are younger or older. Or we might have just one parent or guardian. Some have two mums or two dads. Others may live with grandparents, or in an adopted or foster family, or perhaps as a blended family through parents meeting new partners.
All families look and feel different and there is no one concept of what a family is. So perhaps it’s easiest to say that our family are those who are closest to us or around us the most and provide us with care.
For some of us at times, it can feel really difficult to be a part of a family for many reasons. My experience growing up in a family was difficult too. There were arguments, big and loud ones between my step-mum and dad which would affect how I felt. Sometimes those arguments made me feel really scared. My heart would almost be jumping out of my chest as I was trying to hear what they were shouting about downstairs with my ear pinned to the floor listening. In my head I was thinking “What did I do?”, “Did I do something wrong?” “Is one of them going to come up and start shouting at me?” It then left a really bad vibe in the house after the shouting had stopped, and I would spend the rest of the evening being careful about what I said or did around the very people I loved the most. As scared and anxious as I was, I was so sad that this was happening and I felt powerless and helpless to stop them.
I know this is an experience many others will go through and, as a grown-up looking back on experiences like these, what would I say to another young person?
Perhaps it is you, as a reader, who is going through a similar experience at the moment? What would I say that could help to comfort or reassure in any way? Well, I now know that change is possible, but at the time I remember feeling very stuck.
I would say firstly, with a lot of compassion, that these arguments are not your fault. I would then like to ask you which grown-ups are around you that you trust or get on well with?
Do you think you could be brave and go and have a chat with one of these grown-ups about how the arguing is affecting you or your mental health?
Perhaps it’s a teacher who you might have spoken to a few times who seems kind and supportive. Maybe it is an aunt or an uncle or a friend’s parent.
Perhaps you would like a good friend to go along with you? Carrying the weight of our family’s problems can feel very heavy and affect your mental health and wellbeing. Please know that you do not have to be alone in this difficult situation.
Here are some top tips for you to consider:
- Seek out support and comfort from another! As mentioned in the article, a trusted adult would be ideal, if this step feels too much at the start then opening up to a friend can be helpful too. It is a brave and positive first step!
- If the issues at home are affecting your schoolwork or you worry about going home, reach out to a good teacher! Even if it’s your friend’s teacher and you sense they will be kind and understanding. Try to take a leap of faith!
- Find some space for you. If you feel that you need some quietness because of how difficult things are at home, find a safe and private space. This could be at your friend’s home, your garden or letting your parents know that you’re enjoying space in the library. Somewhere to allow your mind and your emotions to settle without feeling anxious or on edge.
Hidden Strength is here to support you. We can support you through these first uncertain steps towards a place of change if you need it.
Be brave if or when you can and let someone support you. I wish I had known that I could do that, and that I would be listened to. There are other places for support too, such as Child Line on 0800 1111.