What makes a family?

Families can be made up of many different relationships. There can be two parents, same sex parents, single parents, step parents, foster parents or adopted parents. Even extended family like grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins may live together or close by. There is no right or wrong way a family can be put together.

The important factor is how everyone is getting on with each other, as it is usually through your family relationships that you learn how to get on with others, how you view yourself and what is appropriate behaviour.

Talking With Your Parents/Carers

When people come together with different ideas and you don’t communicate well, conflict can occur. At times like these, talking with your parents might seem really annoying, tiring or frustrating. Parents can find it annoying, tiring or frustrating too! However, there are ways to make things smoother. Below are some ideas to think about.

  • Start a conversation– Try talking about day-to-day stuff 1st, rather than jumping straight into a difficult subject.
  • Think about what you want to achieve from the conversation– You could share with your parent what you are hoping to achieve from the conversation, so that they understand what kind of help you are seeking from them.
  • Listen to what your parents have to say tooIf you show respect and maturity in the way you speak to your parents they are more likely to listen to what you are saying and trust you to be able to make good decisions.
  • Avoid putting down their ideas– nobody likes being told ‘You have no idea what you are talking about’
  • Use “I” statements–Take ownership through the language you use may be useful. Using statements like ‘You’re always stressing me out and never let me go out with my friends like everyone else rather than saying  ‘I feel stressed out when you won’t let me go out with my friends’  You may find this approach may feels more empowering for you, as no-one can dispute or argue with what you are feeling. 

About The Difficult Conversations

It can feel really tough for you to talk your parents about sensitive things and asking for assistance or advice, particularly if you are going through something difficult, or need to talk about something big.

Although it might feel uncomfortable, talking about difficult things can often help. Your parents may know how to help, and offer support, or just listen to you and understand at these times.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Let them know if it is urgent– some things can’t wait
  • Think about what you need to say– try to get clear about the issue in your own mind before you talk
  • Think of the best way to communicate it– e.g. face-to-face, by phone, by writing a letter or email, over Facebook, or other social media
  • Let them know how you feel– this will help them understand where you’re coming from
  • Choose the time and place to talk– try to make it a time when you’ll have their full attention.

It takes time, energy and practice for you to have good communication with others. There may also be times when things just don’t work out, no matter how hard you try. Try taking a break and trying again later.

Talking things through with us may be helpful, that is what we are here for

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Diante
Age 14

My family do my head in, it is nice to have someone to talk to

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Chelsea
Age 13

Thanks for listening and the tapping really works to help me stay calm at home

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