National Charity Family Lives offers helpline and LiveOnline 'lifeline' to struggling parents and families over the festive period

Fraught Parents throughout the United Kingdom are being encouraged to access Family Lives’ LiveOnline* Chat Facility over the Christmas and New Year period.

Between November 2011 and November 2012, the charity received 6,042 Live Chat requests from parents and adult carers looking for non-judgemental support and guidance over a range of family issues which included:

  • Live Online interactions from parents and adult carers worried about their own mental health and wellbeing regarding their parenting skills and family harmony
  • Contact which centred on a child or children’s aggressive behaviour towards parents and other family members
  • Parental concerns regarding pending and active divorce and separation proceedings within families 

Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive, Family Lives said: 

“Since its inception nearly three years ago, our LiveOnline chat service handles a variety of complex issues including divorce, separation and children’s educational and mental health issues. Our statistics indicate a demand from parents to access family support information and advice quickly. Whilst Christmas is a time for celebration, for some families with real and entrenched issues the pressures of the holiday season for single, blended and conflicted families can cause underlying simmering issues to explode.  We urge anyone, parents, carers and children or young people who feel like they may be struggling to cope with festive family life, to contact our online family support workers.  Whilst we work with thousands of families each year, we know that there are many more who are struggling but don’t know about the free support services and practical information we provide.  Families can always visit or call our Helpline on 0808 800 2222 for information.”

Recent results from a Family Lives online survey** found that:

  • 90% of respondents stated that they believed parents would benefit from advice and information on effective ways of coping with their child’s behaviour, and other common parenting problems
  • 79% of respondents felt that currently there is too little reliable information on parenting•          
  • 61% felt the stigma of being seen as not being able to cope was a barrier to accessing services 

To access Family Lives’ LiveOnline Chat Service visit: 


Notes to editors:

 For media interviews or enquiries, contact: Simon Walsh, Family Lives Press & PR Manager on 07525 403 642 or email 

*All discussions are completely confidential between the parent and Family Lives support worker. Family Lives will only break confidentiality if there is a life threatening situation, or a child or adult is felt to be at risk of significant harm.

**1,137 respondents to a Family Lives July 2011 online survey. Family Lives recently launched its ‘Instructions Not Included ‘campaign  to encourage people to support one another via volunteering and befriending opportunities which calls for parents and other family members to engage with Family Lives’ broad range of support services to improve their own confidence, resilience, and abilities to help themselves and other parents, thereby preventing the escalation of parenting problems and to enable the organisations to reach out and support children and families.