Can they do this to me?
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Who can help?
If you are in danger call 000 or
tell someone you can trust
If you would just like to talk to
someone, help is at your fingertips ...
All the services below are available and free* for young people to use.
All the 1800 numbers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The person you speak to will be an experienced counsellor, not the police, not a government department. You will not have to give your name.
* Please note that all mobile phone calls made from within Australia to Kids Helpline—using Optus (including Virgin), Vodafone, and Telstra—and 1800 Respect—using Telstra—are now free.
Are you having problems with a friend, partner or family member or would you just like to talk to someone about where to "draw the line"?
Call 1800 MYLINE (1800 695 463)
or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Online Safety and Cyberbullying
Are you being bullied online or has something happened online that makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or sad?
Call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
or go to the Kids Helpline online
Are you or have you been:
- scared of someone hurting you?
- sexually assaulted?
- concerned about violence in a relationship with a friend, partner or family member?
Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or
talk to a counsellor online.
Crisis Support, Suicide and Mental Health
If you would like to talk to someone about anxiety, depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts or attempts:
Call Lifeline on 13 11 14
To find out how to report cyberbullying, offensive content, scams or online abuse, or just find out more about cybersafety, check out the Cybersmart website.
You can also download the Cybersafety Help Button to your computer for help and advice on a range of online risks including cyberbullying, unwanted contact, scams and fraud, and offensive or inappropriate material.
Legal rights and responsibilities
If you want some legal information you can go to the Lawstuff website and search in your state or territory. If you can't find what you want, you can send a legal question to Lawmail. Lawyers will reply to your message as quickly as possible, usually within 6 days.
Assisted Call Services
For the Translating and Interpreting Service please call 13 14 50. If you are deaf or have a hearing impairment, you can call the National Relay Service on 13 36 77.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read responses from our expert psychologist, to some of the most commonly faced issues
The questions and answers below on this page help provide advice to others who may be in a similar situation. Please note the advice provided on this page is of a general nature and not specific to any individual or personal circumstance.
Please do not send questions raising urgent issues. If you need help, see our contact details for free counselling services.
The circumstances described in some of the questions below may raise legal issues. We suggest that contact be made with the Police or with a lawyer to find out what assistance or options may be available in these circumstances.
- I am 13 years old and my dad keeps calling me fat. I have a sister who is 15 and stick thin. He keeps saying I should be more like her and that fat people go nowhere in life and don’t have boyfriends. I’m going through the normal teen changes so these comments make me feel really bad about my body. What can I do?
It is not surprising that you are upset with what your father is saying, and how he is saying it. You feeling bad about yourself in one area can affect your confidence in other areas too. Caring mum’s and dad’s will usually try to give their kids helpful information, which they think will assist the children deal with current or future problems. Unfortunately, because parents aren’t perfect, the message they’re giving, or the way they say it, might sometimes not be perfect either. One reason for this is that, because they naturally worry about how life might be for their sons or daughters, parents can actually become overly-afraid of some problems, or might even see problems that aren’t there yet for their kids yet. Some parents also have some of their own experiences, feelings, beliefs or worries which they have always been sensitive about, which they might pass onto their children: they may have to do with looking and behaving in certain ways (eg. fitting in, being popular, not appearing ‘too different’). Yet, regardless of why your dad is saying what he is, you feeling really bad about your body as a result is not a good thing.
Even though TV and the magazines can make it seem like everyone should have only one body type, the reality is that there are many healthy body types: some larger, some smaller, some in between (sometimes even within the same family). And that’s the point here: this should be first and foremost a health issue. How were you feeling about yourself before dad started calling you fat ? If you were generally happy about things it might’ve meant that your weight was not an issue for you in your life. If you are healthy, eating the right combination of foods (as recommended by a General Medical Practitioner (GP) or nutritionist), exercising regularly and sleeping well, you’d be well on the way to good physical self care. If you are unsure about these areas, speak to your doctor. He or she should give you good information about the shape you are in - health wise.
Meanwhile, there may be many things about you that are great (how you think, how you treat other people, what your interests are) and which you should be proud of. However, when dad keeps focussing on your physical appearance, not only might you feel bad about how you look, but it might seem like all those other important things about you don’t count as much. This can really hurt a person’s feelings, and – if so - it’s very important that you have someone to talk about it too. Is there another trusted adult family member or friend you can discuss this with ? What about your school counsellor, or even a Kidshelpline phone counsellor (1800 55 1800). Just as it’s important to get clear on how your physical health is going, your emotional health, or feelings about this situation, should also be supported.
If you tried to explain how you felt about this situation to your dad, would he understand ? What if he understood that his calling you fat could– far from encouraging you to feel good about yourself and have a healthy body – be harmful for you physically and emotionally? If he is the kind of dad you can talk about stuff to it’s really important that you let him know how his comments affect you. If he chooses not to listen to you, perhaps you could ask him to talk to your family GP and / or a Parentline phone counsellor in your state about how he speaks to you about your figure. He is also most welcome to write into us here at The Line if he has any questions about discussing physical appearance, feelings and health with your sister and yourself. For now, you should focus on your health and having your upset feelings supported by a caring and qualified person. If you are worried about the shape you are in, seek some advice from your Doctor. Although we don’t hear this message often enough, how our bodies look is nowhere near as important as what condition they are in: if healthy, they can help us to do a lot of really interesting, fun and important things in our lives, and that’s the key to truly enjoying and feeling good about our bodies.