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Family + home life

They say you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family - but sometimes we all wish we could.

There are bound to be times when you will argue with parents, brothers or sisters - no matter how much you love them.

Parents

It may seem like your parents or carers always want to spoil your fun - your clothes, your hair, your music, your friends, your homework, your timekeeping, your bedroom - they have an opinion on everything. But, believe it or not, they just want the best for you.

Talking together can be a good way of making your views known and trying to see where your parents are coming from, even if you think it is another planet!

You're growing up and need to express your personality and spread your wings a bit. But this can be difficult for parents to come to terms with - they're used to being in control and they might find it hard when they disagree with your decisions. It can take both of you a while to adjust. And clashes can happen.

The key is not to lose your temper. Slow down, take a breath, suggest you sit down and talk about it. Whatever the issue, try a compromise - agree to keep your room to a certain standard of tidiness but negotiate for extra pocket money by volunteering for a bit of housework. Campaign for an extra hour out, if you get a good school report.

Siblings

Brothers and sisters were sent to try us. You share loads - maybe a bedroom, probably your surname, a certain similarity in looks. You'd go through the roof with anyone who tried to bully them or pick on them. If they were in an accident, you'd be really upset.

So why is it that there is no one who annoys you, frustrates you and makes you angry quite as much as your brother or sister? It's a mystery.

But there are strategies you can use to make things easier on yourself:

  • Rise above it - you're too mature for such silliness, aren't you? Even if you're the younger 
  • Keep cool - count to ten and don't lose your temper. Even if you're older you're not the boss 
  • Cut your sibling some slack - they're more likely to return the favour when you're under pressure 
  • Save arguments for the important things - then, when you have to go to a higher power (mum) - she's more likely to listen to a genuine grievance from someone who doesn't bug her with trivial things all the time 
  • Give each other some space. 
  • If you're lucky enough to have a room of your own this could just be a quiet couple of hours in your bedroom. Respect closed doors. 
  • If you share, you could get away at a mate's house, another room, the garden, the library - whatever works for you

Stepfamilies

If you're a part of a stepfamily, then you may find it difficult to accept your new family. Remember, you're not on your own, everyone in your family will be just as concerned about making it work well.

It helps to talk about your feelings. Call ChildLine on 0800 1111 for advice and support.

Fostered or adopted?

Being adopted is a legal process which means you become part of a new family and you no longer belong to your birth parents.

Being fostered is a way of giving you a family life when you cannot live with your own parents. Sometimes people who are fostered will go back to live with their parents and sometimes they will stay in long-term foster care or go on to be adopted.

If you are fostered or adopted, it may not be easy to deal with. It can make you feel angry, left out or alone. You may not find out that you were adopted until later in life, which can be a shock. If you want to talk to someone, contact TALKadoption on 0808 808 1234.

If you've been adopted you have the right to find out about your biological parents when you are 18. Adults affected by adoption can give you advice about making contact with your biological parents.

Parents separating?

If your parents are getting divorced or separating, it can be a very painful and stressful time. You may find that the loyalty you feel for your parents is mixed up with anger, shock and feeling left out.

It's important to talk about how you feel and not keep everything bottled up. Safe Speak is a counselling service in Derbyshire for young people - call them on 0800 093 5264. Other people who can help could include your grandparents, close friends or a sympathetic teacher.

Young carers

If someone in your family is ill or disabled, you might be spending time looking after them. You could be doing things like cleaning, doing the washing and cooking meals.

As a young carer, it's not unusual to sometimes feel overwhelmed, isolated or lonely. Derbyshire and Derby City Young Carers project can give you help and support.

If you live in Derbyshire, call 01246 207 752 and if you live in Derby, call 01332 370 430. You can also call ChildLine on 0800 1111 and talk to someone about any problems.

If you need help in an emergency phone:

  • Derby City Care Line - 01332 717 777, or
  • Derbyshire Social Services emergency duty team - 01773 728 222.