Play it Safe: Gaming, Lootboxes and Screentime


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Parentline Can Help

Parentline is a national, confidential helpline that offers parents support, information and guidance on all aspects of being a parent and any parenting issues.

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Addiction and Supports?

What you need to know about addiction and the supports available
  • What is addiction?
  • What ‘causes’ addiction?
  • What keeps people in addiction?
  • Types of addiction
  • Signs of addiction
  • Self-Care
  • Recovery
  • Supports for addiction

Download the Overview of Addiction
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Parenting Courses

Parentline, in partnership with the Parents Plus Charity is delighted to run online courses for parents. The next courses will take place in Autumn 2024, please check back in August for scheduled dates.

Parentline calls 2023


Last year, 2023 was a record year for Parentline in relation to the numbers of helpline calls received. There were 6147 calls handled by the Parentline volunteers which is the highest number since the organisation started 42 years ago.

Even more interesting was the numbers of dads who called Parentline in 2023 with almost one quarter of all calls coming from fathers. This is up from 17% in 2022 and is made more remarkable by the fact that for many years it was only the odd call to Parentline that was made by a dad.

By far the area of which callers were most concerned was anger and aggression being displayed to parents by their own children. This is often referred to as child to parent violence and it makes parents fearful of their own child in their own homes. Parentline has specific programmes to help with this issue and to support parents who are in this situation.

Other big issues were childhood anxiety, school refusal, loneliness and isolation, eating disorders, social media and internet use and one of the new growth areas was vaping which is a huge worry to many parents with more and younger children purchasing and using vapes.

Thanks so much to the 60 volunteers who work with Parentline and give so much time and commitment and energy into supporting parents all over Ireland with information and guidance on any and all parenting issues in relation to children of any and all ages. Parentline could not operate without these wonderful volunteers and is so very grateful for their kindness and generosity to the service.”

Aileen Hickie, CEO Parentline

Fathers Calling Parentline


One quarter of all calls to Parentline now comes from a dad

When Parentline was first set up almost 100% of the calls came from mothers. In the first year of operation Parentline received one call from a father. In the intervening years the number of fathers calling the helpline is increasing all the time. Calls from fathers now represent approx. 25% of calls.

The content of calls from fathers has also changed. 20 years ago fathers used to ask ‘how they could support their wife with her parenting.’ The calls from fathers now show they are playing a much more active role in parenting and there is no difference between the parenting issues raised by men and women.


Dr Lee Devaney, Psychologist specialising in Men’s Psychology talks on the importance of men reflecting and talking about their issues

Dr Lee Devaney underlines that parenting as a dad is different to parenting as a mother

Dr Lee Devaney stresses the importance of ringing Parentline as a first step, for any dads who are having difficulties in being a parent

Anxiety


All adults and children feel anxious and worried at times. Anxiety is a normal and natural occurrence. It’s part of life.

It can’t be allowed to become overwhelming or defining. Children can experience anxiety about different issues at different stages of their lives. For the most part, this is just one more element of growing up.

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Parentline has given support, information and guidance to over 150,000 over the past 40 years

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We'd love to hear how you think we're doing. Please fill in the anonymous feedback form below to let us know how we can be more effective in communication with parents just like you.

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Parentline News

Vaping emerges as growing concern for parents across Ireland, findings from Parentline show
  • Findings from Parentline’s 2023 Report highlight anger and aggression as the leading concern from calling parents.
  • Notable trends, in addition to the emergence of vaping as a concern for parents, include the increase in calls from fathers and callers aged 30 - 39 years old.
  • School refusal accounted for 7% of all calls made to the helpline last year.
Parentline, a leading helpline providing support to parents and caregivers, has announced that 2023 marked another record-breaking year for the organisation.

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Search Common Questions

We've compiled a list of the most common questions we get in a range of topics that come up for parents. Search below for the difficulty you're experiencing and we can help.

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There is no typical call

Parents call with all sorts of problems and children of all ages offer different parenting challenges. Anxiety, anger, aggression, isolation and loneliness, bullying, discipline, frustration, school refusal, drugs, teenage issues and verbal and emotional abuse are just some of the main reasons for the calls we receive daily. What all our callers have in common is that they are seeking help, support and guidance. The vast majority of our callers are overwhelmingly satisfied with the service offered and the assistance received.  

COMMON AREAS

Postnatal Depression


Parentline is the only national helpline, that offers support to new mothers suffering with the baby blues or postnatal depression, in confidence and over the phone. This means that a new mother does not have to get organised to leave the comfort of her own home if she needs support. Very often a depressed mother finds it very difficult to get dressed not to mind to leave her own house. Parentline offers a support service in her own home.


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COMMON AREAS

Non Violent Resistance (NVR)


Non Violent Resistance is an evidence-based, non-blaming and relatively short-term intervention model that empowers parents and people working with them to take positive action to end the abusive and/or violent behaviour of a child.

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In association with What Works.


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COMMON AREAS

School Refusal


School refusal can make parents feel as though they have somehow failed, even though it is generally not their fault. It can require collaborative interaction between the child, the parents and the school, to resolve it.


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SCHOOL TRANSITIONS

School life and the difficulties encountered by students (and parents) at the various stages of their educational journey.

January 17, 2024
Going up a Level
It’s a new year and for some parents and their children a new life and a whole new world! If your young adult started third level education in Autumn 2023, they’ll be embarking on their second ...
September 7, 2023
Transitioning out of Transition year
Students moving from Transition Year to 5th year also have changes to make. Although they are more readjustments, and getting back into the academic mindset.
September 7, 2023
Dos and Don’ts (and that’s just parents!)
For the first few weeks try not to bombard them with questions as soon as they come home. Don’t pass on anxieties or speak negatively about teachers or classmates.
September 7, 2023
A Small Step for Parents, A Giant leap for Teen-kind
Change is inevitable, we as adults know that nothing ever stays the same. This autumn many of our young teens are experiencing an overwhelming amount of change.
  • Parent from Cork
    I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to your service and amazing team. I began using your service when my children were aged around 6 and 8 years old and I still avail of the service now that they are young adults of 22 and 24 years old. Having been a single mum throughout and navigating the stresses this role entailed, it has been so invaluable having the understanding, insights and supports of the Parentline volunteers, who not only understood my situation but helped me to move through it. Even now, as I navigate the next phase of their lives into adulthood, I still find the same supports available to me and the same level of understanding. I want to commend you for all of your work and thank you for helping me on my journey of parenting.
    Parent from Cork
  • Testimonial from Anonymous Parent
    I spoke to a lovely lady on Thurs afternoon this week about my teenage son and the trouble he'd constantly got himself into which culminated in us asking him to leave the family home this week. Not an easy time for us but I felt so much better after talking to Parentline (wish i'd got the lady's name). I was at my wits end & couldn't get hold of any of my usual 'supports' so on spur of moment rang u. Very glad I did, this lady spoke to me and listened for nearly an hour, was very understanding, supportive and non judgemental, Thank you Parentline, our problems haven't gone away and I'm sure the rollercoaster is not going to stop anytime soon but you have really helped me this week.
    Testimonial from Anonymous Parent
  • Harry Conway
    We have been working with ‘Parentline’ for the past 5 years and have found it to be a great organisation for our members to tap into. Sometimes our parents feel there is no one there for them as they focus on their children with Dyspraxia. The lifeline for them is for us to transfer them through to the ‘Parentline ’Helpline for support , guidance and to have the ear of experienced volunteers at the other end .Most of our parents do not have the financial means to even consider intervention for themselves. Being able to offer them the services of Parentline at no cost is greatly appreciated by Dyspraxia/ DCD Ireland and our parents. Established in 1995 by parents of children with Dyspraxia/DCD, we are active in the following areas: Supporting regional support groups throughout the country. Promoting awareness of Dyspraxia/DCD in Ireland in order to create a better understanding of the challenges children and parents face. Supporting parents, individuals, families, teens, adults and children affected by Dyspraxia/DCD
    Harry Conway
    CEO, Dyspraxia/DCD Ireland
  • Shane Coleman
    Being a parent is the most wonderful and important thing the majority of the time. But it can also be the most challenging. The unconditional love we feel for our children mean any problems they are having, particularly with us, tend to be magnified. At these times, parenting can be a particularly solitary and isolated occupation. Often we can use other family members as sounding boards. But for a variety of reasons, there are times when parents don’t feel comfortable revealing issues to others close to them. It can be easier talking things through over the phone with somebody who you have never met before and will never meet. That is where we believe Parentline comes in. Our volunteers, who are trained in listening and counselling skills, are there to offer support, guidance and information on all aspects of being a parent. They do this in a completely non-judgmental manner and no time limit is placed on calls with a typical call duration of 50 minutes. There is no problem too big or too small and no typical call or caller and our service is entirely confidential. Most of all Parentline is there to listen and guide parents to help them to find the answers they seek. Parentline is open from 10am until 9pm Monday-Thursday and 10am to 4pm Friday with an out of hours answering service.
    Shane Coleman
    Newstalk radio presenter and Parentline Board Member
  • Nora
    In the early hours of the morning I was sitting up in bed, with my beautiful 3 month old baby girl wide awake in my arms, yet again neither of us having slept a wink. I had the radio on low in the background when I heard the advertisement for Parentline. I had never heard of this group before and the advertisement registered with me big time. My tiny baby girl had been born 2 months premature after a traumatic pregnancy and she wasn’t sleeping for more than 2 hours at a time and I was so worried about her. She was gaining weight, albeit slowly but was doing fine, however I was always anxious about her. I couldn’t understand this as she was my second child and I had no problem coping with my first baby, a gorgeous boy, who wasn’t a great sleeper either. This anxiety was almost paralysing, so much so that when my baby fell asleep I was checking endlessly to see if she was still breathing. I was struggling to cope and the sleep deprivation wasn’t helping. Despite having a very supportive husband, even on the nights that he took over, I couldn’t sleep. I would lie awake worrying. Due to our work commitments, we had to settle down many miles from our extended families which meant we were very much on our own. Strange thing is that even if there was “hands on” support available, I wouldn’t have admitted that I was struggling and needed help. I wasn’t trying to be Super Mum, but surely I could manage two babies without help. I always pretended that I was managing fine. Sometimes I even got defensive as to why things wouldn’t be fine. Didn't I have two healthy babies, a loving husband and a nice home? However underneath it all, it was a huge struggle for me. My emotions and feelings were all over the place and I always arrived at the same conclusion that I was not up to the job of being a mother. A few days after I had heard the Parentline advert, having done much soul searching as it’s not easy to confide in a stranger, I decided to ring Parentline. After a shaky start, lots of hesitating, I poured out my story, the volunteer listened to me, reassured me, listened some more and directed me towards help. I felt so much better after the call, reassured that I was fit for the job of being a mother and that I could get help. Literally, I felt as if a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I was delighted that I had called Parentline. I was so impressed with Parentline, the level of professionalism, competence, knowledge and genuine caring of the volunteers that I joined and trained as a volunteer the following year. I have been a volunteer with Parentline since. That “baby girl” is now 28!
    Nora
    Volunteer with Parentline
  • Sheila Wayman
    Every parent is an expert on their own child, but sometimes we need someone to help us make sense of our gut feelings. With the national, confidential service offered by Parentline, you know trained and experienced volunteers will help you figure out what's right for you and your family, rather than offering solutions that sell a brand of expertise or justify a fee.
    Sheila Wayman
    Writer with Health + Family, The Irish Times
  • Ciara Pidgeon
    Parentline is a great support for parents across the country. It is there for parents of children of all ages. There is no “typical” call to Parentline. The trained volunteers have experience helping parents dealing with a wide range of challenges. Some problems faced by parents can be difficult to share with other family and friends and it can be hard to know what help is available. Parentline offers confidential support to help parents to figure out the best way forward.
    Ciara Pidgeon
    Principal Officer, Parenting Support Policy Unit, Department of Children and Youth Affairs
  • Michele Ridgway
    Parentline's volunteers are at its core. The wealth of experience, the kindness and the loyalty of this group of people is amazing. Parentline is over 30 years old, during which time it has gone from strength to strength, consistently providing a service which is invaluable to Irish families nationwide. It continues to listen and support parents in distress. My involvement in Parentline started fourteen years ago when, after extensive training, I became a volunteer on the helpline. I am still working the lines today. It is a privilege now to be the Chair of Parentline. I was appointed in June 2019 and I follow in the footsteps of many other great supporters of this wonderful charity. Parentline is based at Carmichael House in Dublin along with many other organisations in the non-profit community. The helpline room, where the volunteers take calls, is the heart of the organization. The team is led by CEO Aileen Hickie. There is always a sense of calm and congeniality in the helpline room and many life-long friendships have resulted from time spent there. While our volunteers are the core of Parentline, our callers are the reason we exist. Parentline ensures that there is ongoing training to help deal with the many issues that arise and the changing nature of the calls. Technology has changed how bullying takes place. Financial constraints can mean older children still live at home or return to the family home. Becoming a parent later in life can cause isolation and loneliness. Access arrangements after separation and divorce can be tricky to negotiate. Blended families are an increasing phenomenon. Gaming amongst the teenage community can present problems. There is a plethora of reasons why parents call us and we endeavour to help by listening, validating their concerns, providing information if it's appropriate and giving them the time to tell their story. We provide a confidential service and we do not judge; this means our callers trust us with their very private concerns.
    Michele Ridgway
    Parentline
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