25 Family Phrasal Verbs

We use phrasal verbs a lot when we speak English and in informal situations.

All these family phrasal verbs are used to talk about family relationships – such as the relationship between parents and children; family relationships; and behaviour and discipline.

Parents And Children

bring up = how you educate your children
“They were brought up to be polite.”

grow up = go from being a child to an adult
“Your children are growing up fast!”

take after = be similar to a parent or older relative
“I think he takes after his father.”

look after = take care of someone
“Who looks after your children in the summer holidays?”

care for = take care of someone (especially when they’re old)
“We’re looking for someone to care for my mother.”

look up to = admire
“Is there anyone you look up to in your family?”

live up to = do what is expected of you
“Both his parents studied at Oxford University and have important careers. It’s hard for him to live up to his parents’ expectations.”

sleep over = when friends of a child sleep at the child’s house
“Her daughter is having friends to sleep over this weekend.” (Also “a sleep-over”)

pass away / pass on = die
“His father passed away suddenly from a heart attack.”

Behaviour And Discipline

act up = when a child behaves badly
“When my kids are tired, they begin to act up.”

come down on = punish or criticise
“They came down on him hard when they found out he’d been missing school.”

tell off = reprimand, criticise
“Her parents are always telling her off for watching too much TV.”

run away = leave home when you are a child because you are angry or scared
“He’s run away from home three times already.”

Verbs To Describe Family Relationships

get along = have a good relationship
“All the brothers and sisters get along.”

live with = live in the same house
“Her grandmother lives with them.”

run around after = spend your time doing everything for someone else
“I’m fed up with running around after you. You can do your own cleaning and ironing from now on.”

farm out = send your children to live with other relatives (temporarily)
“My parents used to farm us out so they could have a break.”

descend on / upon = come to visit in large numbers
“We all used to descend on our grandparents for Christmas.”

stand up for = protect someone (often a younger brother or sister)
“He’s always standing up for his brother at school.”

stick together = stay in a close group
“We learned to stick together as children.”

run to = go to someone when you need help (often because you aren’t strong or mature enough to solve a problem yourself)
“She’s always running to her parents when things go wrong.”

turn to = ask someone for help
“He turned to his brother when he lost his job.”

cut off = when your parents refuse to give you money / disinherit you
“They were so angry with her that they cut her off without a penny.”

split up = when a couple end their relationship
“His parents split up when he was a child.”

settle down = when two people make a home together
“She’s finally settled down with Jack.”


25 Family Phrasal Verbs

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