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Family relationships

Families face many challenges and sometimes it’s hard to get along. We’ve got some tips on how to get through these challenges and make your relationships stronger.


There is no right or wrong way to have a family.

Families can be made up of many different people and relationships.

  • You might think the ‘ideal family’ is one where everyone gets along and is loving, supportive and close. However in reality, that’s not always the case!

  • In every family are unique individuals with different needs, personalities, opinions and ways of doing things.

  • With so many different people interacting with one another, it’s common for this to create tension and lead to disagreements, especially when a family is faced with challenges or changes.

Families can face many challenges

All families face challenges and hurdles as a normal part of life. Some more significant than others. Some challenges include:

Divorce or separation

Loss of family members

New family members


Financial problems


Violence or abuse

Frequent arguments

Cultural differences

One parent working away

Illness or disability

Moving house

Generational differences

Addictions (drug, alcohol, gambling)

Getting along with family isn’t always easy

If you’ve ever felt unsupported, misunderstood, frustrated or had an argument with your family – you’re not alone.

Sometimes there’s tension when you, your parents, siblings, or extended family face challenges or go through changes.  

This might leave you feeling disconnected or distant from your family.

While occasional conflict is a normal part of family life, if you ever feel unsafe or in danger it’s important to get help.

Getting through challenges together

Here’s a few things you can do to help strengthen your family relationships:

Talk about it – try chatting about what’s going on in your life with a family member in a time and place where they’re open to listening.
Take time to listen – when you start a conversation be open to listening to the other person’s ideas and suggestions.
Build trust – it takes time and effort to build trust in relationships - even with family! Start with sharing small things and work your way up.
Spend time together – spend quality time with family doing ordinary things. It can help strengthen or build on the connection you share.
Take a break – it’s ok to take time out. Let your family know you want some alone time and that you’ll re-join them when you’re feeling ready.
Show appreciation – let your family know what you appreciate about them or what they do that you’re thankful for. Focusing on the positives can help.
Learn to negotiate – think about what you need and what the other person needs. Try to meet in the middle so both people are happy with the outcome.
Problem solve - try to find solutions that make everyone happy. Get creative - there’s usually lots of different ways to solve a problem.

It’s never too late to turn things around!

Remember there’s always something you can try or someone you can talk to about what’s happening.

Seek out a trusted friend, another family member, or even talk to one of our Kids Helpline counsellors. You can give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

Let us help you turn things around and create positive relationships with your family.

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This content was last reviewed 14/02/2018

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