Like friendships, our relationships with our family can be both supportive and fun, but also tough at times. In this section, you can learn about how to manage relationships with your family members, get information about divorce and custody, and how to get help if you’re not in a safe situation at home.

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Managing relationships with your family members

Sometimes it can be difficult to have a healthy relationship with your family. You may disagree with some of their views or their expectations of you. But, this does not have to be a bad thing. You can still have a really good relationship with your family members and want to maintain these relationships.

Here are some tips to manage healthy relationships with your family members:

  • Communicate regularly: update your family members on what you are doing in life and listen to what they have been doing. It doesn’t matter if you live in the same city or across the world – check in over the phone, through text, video calls (FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype), or email. Talk about good and bad things happening in your life.
  • Set boundaries: it is great to have family in your life, but it’s also important to set limits. You don’t have to see them every day or even every week to have a healthy relationship. Set any limits you need and know that these do not make you a bad family member. Think about your own well-being and your needs before over extending yourself.
  • Consider your differences: if you and your family members do not agree on certain things, accept these differences. Try to avoid these topics in conversation, especially if they create conflict. If these differences are about things that are important to you, think about how you want to move forward and what you need for your well-being.

Divorce and custody

Sometimes relationships do not work out, and this can create a hard situation for you and your family. The divorce of parents or guardians can create difficult living situations. You might have feelings of guilt and uncertainty. It is important to remember that the divorce of your parents or guardians is never your fault.

Here are a few tips to help you through this difficult time:

  • Talk to your support system: Tell your friends or a trusted adult what you are going through and how you feel. Friends can give you valuable support by just listening. If a friend comes to you with something that is bothering them, we have a few tips on talking to your friend. If you are not ready to hear information that may be upsetting, remember to take care of yourself first.
  • See a counsellor: It is useful to see a counsellor when you are struggling with your thoughts or emotions. They can help you understand what you’re feeling and how to cope with these feelings.
  • Tell your parents or guardians how you feel: No matter how you are feeling, you should let your parents know what you are going through. Just because they are separating does not mean they don’t want to hear how you are dealing with it.
  • Ask about the future: Don’t feel scared to ask about your future living situation or any other things you are wondering about. This can sometimes be complicated, but there is nothing wrong with asking these questions.
  • Don’t take sides: You may feel like you have to pick a side when your parents are separating, but this is not necessary. You can love both of your parents without getting involved.

To learn more about divorce, custody and different resources click here.

Domestic abuse and how to get help

Abuse at home is never okay and it is not your fault. Abuse can be:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Verbal

There are ways to get help and stay safe. Resources like KidsHelpPhone and VictimLink offer support.

What Next?

Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.