Caring for a family member can be a very rewarding experience for a young person. It can build an unbreakable bond between the young carer and the family member that they are caring for. Many children who are caring take many positives from their caring role. Children and young people also learn extremely valuable life skills from caring that they are able to use throughout their lives, in their relationships and their education and employment journeys.
A situation where a young person develops a caring role can happen in any family at any time. Often it cannot be planned for. And often it brings out many different feelings in the family. All caring situations are different, but there is a vast community of young carers. It is estimated that as many as 800,000 young people are caring for a family member across the UK.
Young people who are providing care are doing so alongside managing their own needs. If their caring role becomes too big for them to cope with, it may become more difficult for their own needs to be met and for them to thrive.
Each individual family situation is unique, but some young people may be negatively impacted if their caring role gets too big:
- Sometimes caring can become physically tiring and there are certain elements of care that are too difficult for a young person to manage, such as lifting and carrying heavy things.
- Sometimes caring can become emotionally exhausting. Children may be worrying about the person they are caring for a lot. They may also be providing a lot of emotional support, when they are not fully emotionally developed themselves.
- Balancing school with caring can sometimes prove hard for a young person.
- Getting the amount of sleep they need is not always easy.
- A lot of young carers say that they find it difficult to spend time with their friends.
- Research indicates that young carers are at risk of experiencing bullying.
If you feel worried about the impact that your child’s caring role is having upon them, there is help available in North Tyneside. Your child is entitled to a full assessment of their situation from their Local Authority. An assessment should identify and implement the support that they need (see page – young carers’ rights). As well as this, North Tyneside Carers’ Centre has a team of dedicated, specialist staff who you can talk to about your situation. Because of their experience, they understand a lot about what life is like for young carers and their families.
Contact The Young Carers’ Service on (0191) 643 2298 or email them here: (CONTACT US MECHANISM)