There may be times in your child’s life when they need a bit of extra support. Growing up brings its own worries, and your child may experience difficulties at school, at home, or as a result of changing family circumstances.
Many single parents contact Gingerbread asking how best to support their children in difficult situations. This information page has details of specialist organisations and resources that can help.
- Talking to your child about separation
- Supporting your child after bereavement
- Moving on from domestic abuse
- Managing challenging behaviour
- Worried about your child’s mental health?
- Support for young carers
- Issues affecting older children and young people
- Holidays for children
Talking to your child about separation
If you’re worried about how your child is coping with a separation or other change in family circumstances, talk to those who come into regular contact with your son or daughter.
Make your child’s school aware by having a confidential chat with their teacher. Teachers and teaching assistants can be well-placed to keep a watchful eye and offer reassurance. It helps the school to know if something is troubling a child outside the classroom.
The organisations and resources listed below offer services directly to children and young people, or to the adults supporting them.
- Family Lives
0800 800 2222
The helpline provides information, advice, guidance and support on any aspect of parenting and family life. There is also online chat, an email support service and forums.
- My Family’s Changing
These booklets are for children whose parents are separating. There are two versions, one for children under 12 and another for older children. They include stories from children who have been through similar experiences, games, and spaces for children to explore their feelings.
The Resolution booklet ‘Separation and Divorce – Helping parents to help children’ is a practical guide to handling the emotional aspects of separation or divorce. It covers how children may react at different ages, tips for talking to children about separation, and managing your relationship with your child’s other parent. Copies can be downloaded free from the website.
- Young Minds
0808 802 5544
Young Minds provides information and advice about mental health and emotional wellbeing for children, young people and their carers. The website provides help and information on how divorce and separation affect children, and parents and carers can call the helpline for free and confidential support.
Supporting your child after bereavement
The death of a partner or loved one can be a devastating and overwhelming experience. As well as sorting out practical arrangements and immediate financial concerns, you also have your child’s needs to think about. There are a number of resources to help you support them through a difficult time:
- Child Bereavement UK
0800 02 888 40
Provides support and information to all those affected when a child is bereaved. They also offer support to parents when a child has died.
- Cruse Bereavement Care
0844 477 9400
Provides information on what you can do to help a child or young person who is grieving.
- Hope Again
0808 808 1677
Hope Again is aimed at young people aged 12-18 and is part of Cruse Bereavement Care. Services include access to support from trained counsellors via telephone and email. The website is designed to help young people find their own way of dealing with loss.
- Winston’s Wish
0845 203 0405
Offers practical support and guidance to bereaved children, their families and professionals. The helpline is there for anyone who needs help to support a grieving child. Other services include residential weekends for children and group support work with parents and carers.
Moving on from domestic abuse
It can be very difficult for parents to explain to children why they have left a relationship following domestic abuse. Your children may have witnessed or been a victim of the abuse themselves, and need help and support to move on from this.
Equally, your children may not be aware of the abuse you have experienced and you may be concerned about what to tell them and how this may affect their relationship with their other parent.
The organisations below offer services tailored to children or can help parents to support their children.
Childline provides confidential support, counselling and information on a range of issues to children and young people. Services can be accessed by phone, instant messenger, and email.
0808 800 5000
Information for parents and carers supporting children who have experienced or witnessed domestic violence.
- The Hideout
A website for children and young people to help them understand domestic abuse and explain how to take action if it is happening to them or to a family member.
Managing challenging behaviour
If your child displays challenging behaviour there are extra demands on your time and energy. Parenting a child with challenging behaviour can bring up all sorts of issues and you may need some extra support.
If you have friends who are also parents, try to find out how they are dealing with challenging behaviour and what their tips are. You could speak to an organisation such as Family Lives, who offer support and advice on a range of parenting issues, including challenging behaviour.
If your child seems troubled by something but is not telling you, it could help to talk to someone else. Sometimes children are willing to confide in another adult. This could be a relative, family friend, teacher or there is also the option of a mentor. A mentor is another adult that a child feels safe with, either a family member or someone from a professional registered mentoring organisation.
Some schools have access to professional support workers or counsellors; speak to your child’s teacher or school nurse to access these services. Your GP can also advise you on services available locally, and can make a referral. You may find one of the organisations below useful:
- Family Lives
0808 800 2222
Provides information, advice and support for parents on a range of parenting issues including discipline, living with a teenager, relationships, school, bullying and more. The website includes informational articles, blogs, live chat, and confidential email support.
- Young Minds
0808 802 5544
Provides a telephone helpline service for parents concerned about their child’s behaviour or mental health. The website has resources for both parents and young people, including a parent’s survival guide
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Here at UK Care, we understand there may be various factors in a child or young persons life which impacts them negatively and affects their wellbeing. At UK Care we offer a range of services ‘to utilise our ability and skills in order to make a positive difference to our next generation’. For more information contact us today.