All parents and carers know that bringing up children is really hard work.

After a difficult couple of years, this winter has brought yet more challenges, meaning that many families are under even greater pressure.

As food and fuel prices rise and Christmas repayments become due, as parents you might face real financial struggles and find it hard to provide your children with the basics.

As well and food, shelter and warmth, feeling safe and secure is essential for children to thrive. But if you’re a parent or a carer who can’t find or afford childcare to let you go out to work, you might feel that you’ve got no choice but to leave your kids alone.

Every child needs love and affection too, but if you’re a parent who is having problems coping with your own mental or physical health, you might overlook your children’s emotional needs. Or if you didn’t have the best experiences yourself when you were growing up you might find it difficult to bring up your own kids.

Whatever the reason, if you’re struggling to look after your children, it’s okay to ask for help and support. There are people and places who can offer a helping hand, and it’s always better to ask for help than let things get worse.

Talk to a friend, a neighbour or someone else you trust, like a health visitor, a community worker or a teacher. Or contact one of the national helplines or one of the local community organisations listed here about getting some support #itsoktoask. If you’re a neighbour, a friend or family member who can see that a parent is struggling, offer to help.

PARENTLINE – 08000 28 22 33
A free helpline for parents which offers a helping hand for every family in Scotland


A webpage offering advice and articles about all aspects of being a parent


NSPCC helpline – 0808 800 5000
A free helpline if you’re concerned about a child, or if you’re a parent or carer looking for advice


TSI Network Scotland
This is a national network of community and charity organisations who might be able to help you find help or direct you to a local family support group to join or talk to. Please get in touch with the TSI in your own area.


Home-Start Scotland
Home-Start Scotland have groups in many parts of the country and use trained volunteers to work with families from birth to school age, offering compassionate, confidential help for parents


Child neglect and abuse

If you’re concerned that a child is being neglected, abused or harmed, don’t wait, seek help from your local council’s social work department  or call the police on 101.

If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, call 999. It’s always better to say something than do nothing.


Local Councils’ Family Services/Social Work departments