A young carer is usually someone under the age of consent. They are left with the burden of minding an adult who isn’t able to take care of themselves.
Due to the amount of responsibility they will have, their daily activities will not consist of playing with their friends, instead they may be left doing house work, cooking, shopping and cleaning – as the adult in their life would normally do.
Having a huge amount of responsibility at such a young age can be very tough. A lot of children might even go through feelings of resent towards the person they are left looking after. Some might feel quite isolated and like they can’t have a “normal” life.
In some cases, young carers have from health problems such as back pain from lifting the person they mind or insomnia from high levels of stress.
What tweens can do to help themselves?
- Sort out finances. Full time carers may be entitled to welfare benefits such as Carer’s Benefit, Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Leave.
- Enlist the help of others if possible. Even carers will need help from time to time. Nobody was born a superhero, getting close friends and family to help could be a good idea.
- Spend time outside the house. Spending so much time minding someone else can be a bit draining, so a bit of physical activity could be a way to help ease the stress.
- Look after health. As well as exercise, eat nutritious foods and try to follow a proper sleep pattern.
- Plan daily treats. Doing things as simple as watching TV, Skyping a friend or playing on the Wii can keep stress levels down. It might not be easy at the start, but it is a lot better to choose healthy outlets rather than turning to substance abuse.