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A parents' survival guide

Parenting can be hard work. It won’t always be easy. Watching your children grow is rewarding but there will be challenges and if you’re reading this now, you might be facing a tough time.

If you are worried about your child and think they are unhappy, you might be hard on yourself and think you aren’t doing a good job.

There are some great tips for any parent or carer who is worried about their child, or their own parenting skills, on the YoungMinds website.

Three things to remember:

  • You and your child - You don't have to be perfect. We all get things wrong and shout sometimes. If this happens, say sorry to your child afterwards and explain why it happened. They will learn from you that it's OK to make mistakes and that it doesn't make you a bad person.
  • Helping your child - Talk to them. Even young children can understand about feelings and behaviour if you give them a chance to talk about it. Take it gently and give them examples of what you mean, for example, ‘When you said you hated Molly, you looked really angry. What was making you so cross?’, or ‘When you can’t get to sleep, is there anything in your mind making you worried?’
  • Look after yourself - take some time for yourself. Even a night in with a friend, a DVD box set or your favourite dinner can help. If things are getting you down, talk to someone and ask for support.

You might find some good tips in the 'Help yourself' advice section for young people, too.

Here are some useful websites:

  • YoungMinds has a parents' helpline and lots of information about emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people
  • NHS Choices has information about mental health for young people, parents and carers
  • offers free, confidential online counselling support for children and young people in Hertfordshire aged 10-25
  • My CAMHS Choices has information and short films on mental health services 
  • Childline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • BEAT eating disorders charity has a helpline for young people and adults
  • MindEd for Families has resources, advice and tips on child and adolescent emotional and mental health