#StopTalkListen – Small arguments can mean big problems

By Tam Baillie, Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

Photograph of Tam Baillie, Scottish COmmissioner for Children and Young People with Stop..Talk.Listen campaign speech bubble.

When I was asked to contribute a selfie to the #StopTalkListen campaign, I could think of many examples of things that caused family arguments when we still had our children living at home with us.

I chose “People not tidying away after themselves” and while this might seem like a small thing, it is often small things that can blow up into big, poisonous arguments between young people and their parents because that small thing is the tip of an iceberg of old resentments, festering grievances, perhaps even feelings of being unloved – if this actually is the case it may be that the young person has to leave for their own well-being. However, most often it is not. Yet, this small thing can then light the blue touchpaper that ends with a young person being thrown out of home or leaving home for good.

Unfortunately when family conflicts are not resolved through dialogue, young people can end up homeless and the loss of security that brings can be very destructive to their mental health and wellbeing. Leaving home can also disrupt their education, their friendship circles and their future prospects yet all that could be avoided. They’re still developing in so many ways and are mostly far too unprepared to take that step into adulthood, taking on responsibility for looking after themselves entirely.

I hope this campaign can raise awareness among young people and families to find more constructive ways to deal with conflict and avoid the difficulties, personal and financial costs and hurt that comes with being catapulted into adult life before you’re ready for it.

Visit the #StopTalkListen Campaign website.

Support the campaign – share your experience!
What are the most common arguments in your household? Share your story on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #StopTalkListen.

Tam Baillie, Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

Before becoming Commissioner for Children and Young People in 2009, Tam Baillie worked with children and young people for 30 years, including young offenders, those in and leaving care and young homeless people. He was also Director of Policy for Barnardo’s Scotland from 2003 focusing on children’s policy and rights issues.

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