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Q

What are the main dietary issues for girls my age that have a mum who works full time and doesn't come home till 6, and on top of all of that a little brother to look after?

A

Diet and nutrition are really important to think about, particularly for children and young women who are growing and need lots of energy. It sounds like it might be really hard for you at the moment, if your mum is working a lot, to work out what food you and your little brother need to eat.

It can also be really hard for single parents and working parents to balance work demands with needing to provide meals for their family during busy working weeks. Is this something that you’ve talked to your mum about, so that your mum is aware that this is an issue that’s worrying you? If you haven’t spoken to your mum, having a chat to her might help her to plan for the week ahead. This might involve pre-preparing or ordering some pre-prepared healthy, nutritious snacks and meals that could be heated up at dinner time. Perhaps you could all come together on the weekend to shop for and cook your meals for the week ahead, as a family.

You could talk to your mum about what nutrition you and your little brother need as well. There are also professionals such as nutritionists and dieticians, available through GP clinics or local community health centres, who can provide advice and support.

If this is difficult for your mum to do, or it’s hard for you to discuss this with her, I think it would be helpful for you to talk to another trusted adult or service that can give you some support. This might be your school counsellor, wellbeing co-ordinator, teacher, a relative or a family friend. I’ve also suggested some services below that you could contact if would like to. There are really friendly, trained people available at these services who would love to talk to you and provide some support and strategies.

  • You can talk to Kids Helpline via their web chat or on the phone by visiting www.kidshelpline.com.au or calling 1800 551 800. They have counsellors who will be very happy to chat with you 24 hours a day.
  • headspace is also a fantastic service to talk to about getting help. Visit www.eheadspace.org.au or 1800 650 890.

Some schools offer breakfast and/or dinner programs, so I’d suggest you chat your teacher and/or wellbeing co-ordinator to see if there's any program such as that at your school.

Relationships Australia Victoria also provides counselling for children, young people and families in our centres in Melbourne and regional Victoria. These include Ballarat, Boronia, Cranbourne, Greensborough, Kew, Sunshine, Shepparton and Traralgon. You can find out more about our counselling service on the connectEDspace website here.

If there’s something else that’s bothering you, or you’re worried about the big responsibility of looking after your little brother, it’s important to reach out for help and support from one of the people I’ve listed above.

This resource is tagged with:
family stress and mental health emotions and healthy minds