Understanding Difficulties at Home

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Sometimes you and your family are faced with difficult challenges. These challenges can make it tough to be at home. Sometimes you may have more complicated problems going on at home that leave you feeling alone, scared, abandoned, neglected, or even abused.

What are Difficulties at Home?

Sometimes who your family is and how they interact with you doesn’t match up with what you would like it to be. 

It’s normal to have problems as a family, no family is perfect. Sometimes you and your family are faced with difficult challenges. These challenges can make it tough to be at home. 

Sometimes you may have more complicated problems going on at home that leave you feeling alone, scared, abandoned, neglected, or even abused. Below are some common difficulties at home.

Problems with Money

Whether you need money for necessities like food, water, and shelter, or you need money to buy those new shoes that everyone has, money is important. You may be starting to realize that not every family has the same amount of money and opportunities as yours, that’s okay! Every family is different.

Financial difficulties will hit families differently. Financial problems may mean that your family cannot afford to eat out as much as they used to, or you may see a decrease in your allowance. In addition, financial difficulty can affect your parents’ stress levels and their time with you. For example, if your parent(s) are taking on more jobs to make ends meet, it can lead to less time at home, less time to go to your games or school functions, or less time to cook dinner. Financial stress impacts everyone in the family. You may feel pressured to help or even sad that the life that you’re used to is changing.

Separation or Divorce

Watching your parents move towards separation and/or divorce is not easy. You may hear them arguing more frequently, spending less time together, or maybe there is physical abuse or an addiction. For others, this may come as a shock to you. No matter the reason for the separation, this change is not your fault. You are not responsible for the decisions that your parents make in their marriage. In fact, a lot of kids feel like it is their fault that their parents are getting divorced, but it is not your fault.  

If your parents separate or divorce, you may experience some of the following changes:

  • Changes in your schedule
  • Changes in the role you play in your family
  • Changes in where you live and/or go to school
  • How often you see your parents 
  • Changes in your parents’ moods
  • Changes in your mood 
  • Sadness about your family separating
  • Happiness about your family separating
  • Struggling to understand why you must go between two homes
  • Angry about the divorce and the changes it has caused 
  • Blaming one parent for the divorce or resent both of your parents for pulling apart the entire family
  • Learning new skills about yourself
  • Meeting a parent’s new partner

If you find yourself struggling with the divorce and notice negative changes in your mood, behavior, concentration, grades, and relationships it may be time to talk to someone about what is going on. Reach out to a mental health professional!

Domestic Violence

how domestic violence impacts teen homelife

No one deserves to be hurt. Watching your parents constantly fight and argue is exhausting and scary. Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior, such as physical or emotional abuse to maintain power or control over the other. Domestic violence is hard for everyone in the family. It is never okay for someone to be hit, constantly talked down to, or abused. If you witness a parent being abused, make sure you are safe, and get immediate help or call 911. Domestic violence is scary, and it is not your fault. If you are concerned about domestic violence in your home or a friend’s home, talk to a trusted adult or school counselor about what is happening at home. 


how addiction impacts teen homelife

It can be hard to talk to other people about living with a parent that is struggling with addiction. You may feel lost, alone, afraid, responsible, and even overwhelmed. You may feel like people don’t understand what you’re going through, or feel embarrassed, and talking about it will not help.

When someone is struggling with an addiction it can make life at home complicated. The environment you are living in can be unpredictable, such as mood swings and behaviors of the family member active in their addiction. This unpredictability can have an effect on your mood, feeling safe, and even negative feelings towards the family member in active addiction. 

It can be hard to have a positive relationship with a person living in your home active in their addiction. Your role in the home can change. You may find yourself taking on parental roles and responsibilities beyond your age. For example, a parent who is battling an addiction may not be able to properly care for themselves or you, leaving you to take care of yourself, the family, and the house. This can have adverse effects on you, affecting your health, causing you to be overwhelmed, stressed, angry, and even hopeless. Remember, it is not your responsibility to rescue a family member in active addiction. It’s not your fault. Reach out for support, you don’t have to do this alone. 


how abuse impacts teen homelife

Your home is supposed to be a place of comfort and safety, that is not always the case. Sometimes your home can be dangerous and you may not feel safe. It’s scary to not feel safe in your home. If you’re feeling unsafe in your home, you may be experiencing some form of abuse. 

Abuse is not always just physical, it can be emotional, sexual, and verbal. All forms of abuse are serious, and you do not deserve to be abused. It can be scary to deal with abuse, it can make you feel weak, alone, sad, angry, useless, and vulnerable, to name a few. It is never okay for someone to abuse you, and if you or someone you know is being abused it is important to call 911 for help. Your safety and life are more important than worrying about someone getting into trouble for abusing you. If you’re scared to call the police, tell an adult such as a teacher, school counselor, or trusted family member. 

Some instances which may be occurring at home where you do not feel safe:

  • Violence between your parents/siblings/family members
  • Someone is hurting you physically/emotionally/sexually/verbally
  • You’re constantly being called negative names like: dumb, fat, stupid, worthless, ugly, pathetic, etc. 
  • You’re constantly blamed for everything
  • Strangers coming in and out of the house
  • Weapons or drugs are present in the house
  • You are being threatened and scared for your safety

No one deserves to be abused. If you feel you are being abused, understand that it’s not your fault, and tell a trusted adult. 


how neglect impacts teen homelife

It can be hard to be a teen and struggling. Sometimes you feel hopeless to ask for help and sometimes you just don’t know the words to say. It can be even harder to talk about things you feel that everyone else has, such as food, water, clothes, support, and shelter – the basic necessities to live. If you do not have the basic necessities in life you may be in a neglectful household. It’s not your fault if you don’t have the basic necessities in life, it’s not your responsibility, it’s the adults caring for you. 

Neglect can be hard to understand. Sometimes a parent isn’t neglectful because they don’t love you, it’s that they may not have the means, suffer from a severe mental disorder, or have the necessary skills, ability, or knowledge to take care of you. 

Some signs of neglect:

  • You are hungry and have no food
  • Your clothes are dirty, or you have very little clothes
  • You are cold in the winter and have no heat
  • You have nowhere safe to live
  • You’re left alone for long periods of time
  • Your parents fail to give you emotional support
  • You are sick or have medical needs that are not being taken care of
  • Your house is dirty and unsanitary
  • You are allowed to skip school or are not enrolled

If you feel you are being neglected, it is best to tell an adult, such as a trusted family member, teacher, or school counselor about what is going on. You might feel anxious and worried about what other people will think, but your wellbeing is more important than what others will think. This isn’t your fault, you deserve to have basic necessities so that you can reach your potential. 


how homelessness impacts teen homelife and mental health

If you or someone you know are living without a permanent home, you may be experiencing homelessness. Homelessness is a growing problem in our country and can happen to any family. In fact, about 33% of the homeless population in the U. S. are families with children. There are many causes associated with homelessness such as; sudden job loss of a parent or caregiver, poverty, cost of living and affordable housing, mental health, substance abuse, healthcare costs, and domestic violence to name a few.  

If you are experiencing homelessness due to running away, being abandoned, abused, or any situation that leaves you without a caregiver, the most important thing to remember is to stay safe. Contact a trusted adult and/or counselor immediately to try and help you locate resources to help you. Being homeless is not your fault, and it can be overwhelming and scary to be experiencing this alone. It can be hard to figure everything out on your own. If you find yourself struggling with homelessness or couch surfing, reach out for help. Never feel embarrassed to ask for help because we all need help sometimes. OASIS is here to help, contact us to help you locate the resources. 

Wellbeing Strategies

Talk to a Mental Health Professional: It can be difficult to address your emotions and thoughts, experiences, and life challenges. Reaching out to a counselor or therapist can help you feel better and less alone. Find a therapist near you here or try online therapy!

Talk to a trusted adult: Parents, mentors, school employees, and religious leaders can provide you with additional support and guidance to work through your life challenges.

Take care of yourself: Exercise, sleep, and eating healthy can have a big impact on your overall mood and how you feel about yourself. You can also do something you enjoy, such as yoga, art, sports, writing, listening to music, playing an instrument, etc.  Finding time to do things that you enjoy can help you feel better.

Meditate, prayer, mindfulness: Connecting to your breathing and your abilities to calm yourself can help positively increase your mood. Spending time in nature can help improve your mood. Learn how to practice mindfulness!

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