At least 1.4 million families are living with "problem" debt with a further three million households on the verge of sliding into financial difficulty and leaving their children in distress, according to a new report.
The Children's Society and StepChange debt charity have warned about the emotional toll an "extremely precarious" financial position puts on the children of the family.
The stress of keeping up with repayments leads to rows, emotional distress to children and cut backs on essentials, the charities warned.
More top news
Paracetamol is ineffective at treating back pain, Australian researchers say.
Madonna says she still cannot bring herself to watch footage of the moment she fell on stage while performing at the Brit Awards.
Ed Miliband has pledged to give zero-hours workers the right to convert their contract into a regular job after three months.