For some Children and Young people, they find themselves in a caring role. This can take many forms such as for a parent, or sibling who has illness either short or long-term. It could also be that through the default of being ‘the eldest’ you take on a role of looking after your younger siblings.

When you hold this role, you are known as young carer. This is a term I have come across over the last 5 years or so.

I wanted to give you some thoughts about how it could be for a young carer of a sibling, these are based on my own experience and therefore may not be how everyone experiences it.

Young carers can carry more responsibility than their peers, it can lead to having to do things before their time. It may mean that they carry out chores and duties that a parent would normally do.

There can be a sense of guilt too for being well when your sibling is not. It can be confusing as you might not understand everything that is going on but get something is not right.

It can be quite anxiety provoking being unsure of what the future might be. There could be a range of emotions being shown such as anger, fear, and sadness it is likely to be confusing.

It could be that you are not allowed to be sad, or angry as you are not the ill one. It could be you are told to “make allowances” and stop making a fuss. It maybe you get ‘lost’ within the family dynamics. It might be that your behaviour was challenging, and this was the only way to be seen.

Growing up it was not always possible to have time for you and this is something that you may have held on to and now as an adult do not always recognise your value. You are important too.

Carrying around responsibility and guilt.

As an adult a young carer might continue a high sense of responsibility, it might be hard to relax. It could be that you hold yourself responsible for things which are not within your control or your fault.

You may not have had so much time to play or be free, so giving yourself permission to do so now can be challenging.

Feelings can be overwhelming as they could have been shut out for as long as can remember. You recognise you are the “lucky” one, but it does not always feel that way.

There is likely to be a real independence so reaching out for support for you might be challenging. Asking for help can feel like failure – it is not though, and support can be invaluable when you let it in.

I work to support parents and carers, if you feel that I might be able to support you please do get in touch via email, [email protected]

Feeling alone and not seen.
Young and caring
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