Whatever relationship you have with the young carer in your life, its important they know they are supported and valued.
Is your child a young carer?
If you are a parent caring for a family member or friend, then chances are one or more of your children is a young carer.
If you are a parent with a disability ongoing illness, mental illness, chronic condition, alcohol or drug issue, then chances are one or more of your children is a young carer.
How can you support the young carer/s in your family?
When young carers talk about what they need from their families they say:
- To being kept informed
- To feel safe
- To be seen are care partners
- To feel they are not alone
- To sometimes take time off from their caring responsibilities
- To get support when they need it
The booklet Supporting Families, Supporting Young Carers (by Carers Australia) has many ideas and tips for parents.
Tips from other parents
"Take time out to talk to your children about the condition of the person you are supporting, including the symptoms, their care plan and whether the condition is hereditary." - Louise
"Children and young people need to feel safe and secure. They need to be kept from harmful situations and to be given enough information so that they know what to do in an emergency. It’s really hard for my son, and for other young people who are caring for a parent with a mental illness. When things are going well for me I help Jack plan strategies for when things are not so good." - Jacinta
"I made quite a few phone calls because I reckoned that my kids would need a bit of extra support from someone other than myself, especially if things get worse for Peter. I managed to find a local youth worker who was particularly interested in working with kids who are young carers." - John
"Don’t forget that sometimes your child still just needs to be able to be a kid. Because Robert had always been willing to help with caring for his grandfather, I hadn’t thought about the fact that he also needed time out to do other things." - Paul
Some general tips:
- look after yourself
- discuss things as family
- ask for support and assistance for yourself and other family members
- celebrate the positives
- have an emergency plan, and back-up plan for when things go wrong - plan them with your child, and
- take a break from caring – take respite to recharge. Contact your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 to see what they can offer you and young carers.
Carer Advisory Line
Call 1800 242 636* (weekdays 8.30am to 5pm) to talk to a Carers Victoria advisor about some common experiences for young carers and, what supports are available for them. The service can also offer suggestions on how your child's school or service can support and assist young carers.
*free call from local phones, mobile calls at mobile rates