You won’t always get on well with your parents or carers but if you’re having problems living at home there are steps you can take to improve your relationships.  Moving out is not the only option.

Key advice

Talk to someone you trust if you’re having problems at home. If you’re under 16 home is probably the best place for you, unless you are in danger there. If you can’t stay at home call Shelter’s free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice on where to stay, or use their directory to find a local adviser.

Set some ground rules

It’s important that you and your parents begin to set ground rules together and to make decisions about issues such as privacy and personal space. Try to negotiate rather than argue. Be prepared to compromise and don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong and say you’re sorry. Listen to what your parents or carers have to say and try to see their point of view.

Talk to someone else

If you’re having problems communicating with your parents, it may help to talk to someone else such as an older brother or sister, your grandparents, an aunt or uncle, a friend or a teacher. They may be able to act as a go-between, to help smooth things over with your parents.

You can also call a helpline such as ChildLine on 0800 1111 and talk to an adviser in confidence about problems you’re having at home.

Get help from a mediation service

Mediation could help if you feel you need some ‘hands on’ help sorting things out with your family. A mediator is a neutral referee who can help you and your parents sort out your problems. They don’t take sides, they don’t decide ‘who is right’ and they don’t tell you what to do. Instead, they help you work things out for yourselves.  Some local mediation services are The Basement ProjectWyre Forest Nightstop ,  South Worcestershire Nightstop or Relate

Coping with a stepfamily

A new step-parent can be the cause of arguments and can lead to young people running away from home or moving out before they’re ready to cope on their own. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Learning to live with a new parent and possibly new sisters and brothers can take a lot of adjustment but if you work at it, it can be very rewarding.

You may feel that your step-parent has no right to tell you what to do. You may resent them for taking the place of the parent who has left or died and you may still feel upset, insecure, angry or rejected because your birth parents have split up. Try to remember that your step-parent probably isn’t trying to replace your mum or dad at all. They probably want to support you but don’t know how. It can’t be easy for them either, especially if you are still angry or grieving.  Talking things through and agreeing on ground rules together can really help. Negotiate calmly, be prepared to compromise and don’t force your ‘real’ parent into taking sides with you against your step-parent, as this will only cause more trouble. For additional advice click here

Coping with the death of a parent

When someone in your close family dies, you can feel isolated and believe that no one is listening to you. Rather than getting upset or running away, try telling the people who are still around how you feel.

If you feel you can’t do that and there is no-one else to talk to, you can contact Cruse, a charity that provides help and support for people to deal with bereavement. Cruse have a helpline (0844 4777 9400) and information for young people aged 12–18.

If your mum or dad has died, you might feel that your house isn’t your home anymore. If you feel that you are going to be pushed out of your home, remember that you might have rights to stay. Don’t make any hasty decisions, contact Shelter’s free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 for advice on your rights