I’m struggling to cope as a parent

Many parents will have moments where they feel like it’s difficult to cope. There are some things you can do to support yourself, and places you can go for help.   

If you’re in crisis or at risk of harm, call 999 or read about support for parents with suicidal thoughts.   

Know you’re not alone

Understand that this is a common feeling and it’s OK for things to feel difficult. Think about your support network and who you could ask for help. If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Or see a list of services below.

Understand the cause

Try to identify what’s making you feel like you can’t cope. Understanding this can help you find the right sort of support. Possible triggers might include:  

  • Breakdown in relationships with family or children.  
  • Feeling unable to manage your child’s behaviour or needs.  
  • Someone close to you dying.  
  • Money or work stress.  
  • Loneliness.  
  • Illness or chronic pain.  
  • Feeling out of control.  

Everyone’s situation will be different and you might experience a combination of these or something else.  

Give yourself a break

Think about what you’re good at and recognise your successes. It can be tempting to dwell on what’s going wrong, so remind yourself what you have achieved. This could be putting food on the table for breakfast, giving your child a hug, or getting them to school even when it was a battle.  

It can also help to:  

  • Spend time with the people or things you love and recognise what they bring to your life.  
  • Try to get exercise when you can, even for a short time as part of your daily routine.  
  • Use a breathing exercise or muscle relaxation technique to calm anxious feelings.  

Get support

If you need extra support, you can speak to a parenting coach about day-to-day family life on our 1:1 live chat service. Or you can get help from specialist organisations on specific issues. 

Health or mental health support 

If you’re struggling with your mental health, you can:  

    If your child is under five years, you can contact your health visitor. Details are in your child’s red book or you ask your GP surgery.   

    Relationship support  

    If you need support with relationship issues, you can:  

    • Contact Relate for couples counselling, family therapy and mediation.  
    • Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 24/7, or chat online 3pm to 10pm Monday to Friday.  
    • Contact Women’s Aid or Mankind, for help with domestic abuse. 
    • See our section on parenting and relationships. 

    Financial support  

    If you need support with money issues, you can:  

    • Visit Turn2Us for advice about benefits, grants or other money-related issues.  
    • Call  StepChange Debt Charity on 0800 138 1111, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.  
    • Call the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.  
    • Contact Citizens Advice for information about benefits, how to deal with debt and what you’re entitled to.  
    • Search for your local foodbank.  

    Housing support  

    If you need support with housing, you can:   

    • Get urgent housing advice from Shelter on 0800 800 4444, or via online chat.   
    • Contact Crisis for support and advice to escape homelessness.  
    • See if your local council has an emergency out of hours telephone support. Find your local council 
    • Contact Citizens Advice for information about homelessness, renting, mortgages and housing problems.   

    Bereavement support  

    If someone close to you has died, you can: 

    Behaviour support  

    If you need support with your child’s behaviour, you can:   

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    This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

    More on parent mental health

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