Category Archives: News

Parents in Sport Week

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Parents in Sports Week is an NSPCC initiative which aims to recognise and reinforce the vital role parents play in supporting a child in sport, contributing to their enjoyment and success.

The NSPCC and Sport Northern Ireland have joined forces with more than 100 sports clubs and governing bodies in the UK and Ireland to promote Parents in Sport Week which runs from 3rd – 9th October.

Parenting NI is proud to be among the various organisations supporting the week. Interim CEO at Parenting NI Charlene Brooks said “Children and young people take greater enjoyment participating in sport when their parents are positively involved. Parents want the best for their children and like to see them succeeding at something they enjoy but it’s important that they are encouraging their children to do so in a supportive way.”

Parenting NI will be encouraging parents across the week to support their child’s participation in sport and to remember the role they play in helping their child reach their full potential.

5 Top Tips for Positively Supporting your Child in Sport

  • Support your child by focusing on the positives and giving feedback in a constructive way.
  • Try not to focus on winning but rather praise your child for their efforts regardless of the result.
  • Promote fair play and encourage your child to play by the rules.
  • Remain calm if you are watching from the sidelines. If you see something you are unhappy about have a quiet word with the coach after the game.
  • Be a good role model for both the children and other parents. You can do this, for example, by applauding good play and efforts made by both teams and showing respect for match officials and coaches.

Further information on Parents in Sport Week can be found on the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit’s website. For support with positive parenting and any other parenting issue please contact Parenting NI on freephone 0808 8010 722.

Parenting Support Goes Online This August

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Earlier this year, leading local parenting support charity Parenting NI launched a new online service for parents. The introduction of a web chat feature on the organisations website was a great development for Parenting NI, allowing support to be even more accessible for parents in Northern Ireland.

“We were really excited to introduce a web chat feature for parents in February this year.” explains Gillian Allen, Helpline Supervisor at Parenting NI. “We feel it’s important for parents to be able to contact us by whatever means they feel most comfortable and it also enables them to access the same type of support online as they would receive on the Parenting NI Helpline. This has been a very welcome big step forward for the organisation.”

Parenting NI will be extending the availability of the online support service throughout August by offering 4 hours of web chat daily. With children being off school the summer months can often be the most challenging for parents so the parenting support organisation thought it was appropriate to make the service available for longer during this time.

“We’re really pleased that parents who may not have contacted us before now feel they can do so via web chat.” Gillian continued:  “For example, we’ve seen that it is a really useful tool for parents who have hearing or verbal communication difficulties to engage with services and seek support.”

“Some parents will struggle with plucking up the courage to call the helpline, whereas dropping us an instant message online may seem a little less intimidating. In any instance, for whatever reason a parent may not be able to contact us by phone, it’s important that parents feel able to reach out for support and that the support is accessible for all.”

The web chat service is available on the Parenting NI website from 10 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday for the month of August.

New Service Families Together in Local Schools

Pupils in Antrim and Strabane are celebrating the initial phase of an innovative new project being completed in their schools, which aims to improve outcomes for children and relationships in families.

The Families Together Project is a partnership between Parenting NI and New Life Counselling. The project has been awarded five years funding under the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out Supporting Families Programme.

The Families Together project has been designed to help support and improve family lives by strengthening family cohesion by encouraging more open and effective communication between parents and their children. The project includes a number of programmes for parents and children which will provide them with a better understanding of each other’s needs and the skills to manage family relationship difficulties a different way in the future.

Pip Jaffa, CEO at Parenting NI said: “We are delighted to have received funding from the Big Lottery Fund to enable us to deliver the Families Together project with our partners New Life Counselling.” This project will work towards improving outcomes for children in these areas as well as encourage families to actively get involved in the school life.

“The project gives us an opportunity to work alongside the schools in providing additional support to local families. Programmes for parents are available in schools in Antrim and Strabane which will help them with issues such as managing stress, building resilience and confidence in their parenting skills and managing situations like separation and communication breakdown. We also hope that parents will become more involved in school life with informal events and activities throughout the academic year.”

Karen Collins, CEO at New Life Counselling said: “New Life Counselling is delighted to be working with Parenting NI in the delivery of this Lottery funded project. From our experience in working with schools we know how much the support provided will be welcomed. We aim to support young children and parents to develop emotional resilience skills and improve their emotional wellbeing.”

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Thomas Hogg commented, “Families Together is a fantastic project that provides an important and much needed service to families who want to improve relationships with their loved ones.  I am delighted to see this support available at three of our local primary schools in Antrim and trust that this will be a beneficial service to those who need it most.”

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion says she is delighted Big Lottery funding has been secured to provide Families Together Project services in Strabane. “I am fully supportive of any initiative that  gives help, assistance and advice to families and that works to bring families closer together and help them develop better relationships. As a mother of three young boys myself I know how important it is to engage regularly with children and to listen to their views, their worries and their thoughts on all issues so that we can build on our relationship and learn to communicate better. This is a fantastic programme that offers something for both parents and children that will hopefully enhance and enrich the lives of families across the Strabane area.”

Throughout the week pupils from Ballycraigy Primary School, Parkhall Primary School, Six Mile Integrated Primary School, Sion Mills Primary School, St Catherine’s Primary School and St Mary’s Primary have enjoyed fun activities to mark the projects first year in their school.

It is hoped that as the project develops it will be possible to open it out to more schools to further benefit families in each area.

For media enquiries contact:
Emma Lyttle
Communications Officer at Parenting NI
T: 028 9031 0891
E: emmal@parentingni.org

Coping with Exam Stress

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We have officially entered exam season which can be a very challenging time for both children and parents/carers. The pressure to revise and to perform well can be very stressful for young people. Revision is all the more challenging with the lovely weather we’ve been having!

Parents and carers want the best for their young people and therefore exam pressure is also very concerning for them.

Last month the BBC reported that education staff had told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers that children as young as six are stressed about exams and tests. Yesterday, Childline released stats to say they have conducted over 3,000 counselling session with young people about exam stress in the past year, a 9% increase on 2014/15.

Parenting NI are very aware of the pressures on young people when it comes to exam time and hear from parents and carers calling the Parents Helpline of concerns around the effects this stress has on their young people and the family as a whole.

Here are some tips for coping with the stresses of exams:

  • Try not to places pressures on the young person for obtaining the top grades to avoid them fearing failure.
  • Reassure your child that there are always other options and ways to move forward regardless of exam performance.
  • Remind your child to take regular, short revision breaks away from the books or the computer and get some fresh air or physical exercise, preferably with another person.
  •  Encourage them to eat well and have snacks whilst revising.
  • Give them space and time to study but let your child know you are available and will make time to help them with revision if they want or need it.
  • Be relaxed about chores, untidiness or moods during revision and exams.
  • Encourage good sleep to maintain their energy.
  • Be supportive when it comes to any worries your young person may have.

If you have concerns about exams and the stress your child is under please give us a call on 0808 8010 722. You can also have a chat with us online using web chat between 10:30 am and 11:30 am and 1 pm and 2 pm Monday to Friday.

 

Parenting NI Now Offering Support for Young People

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Parenting NI is delighted to announce that it is now offering a new service which supports young people as well as their parents and carers with any family difficulties they may be experiencing.

Last year Parenting NI asked young people to complete a survey about improving relationships with their parents/carers. Of those young people who responded, 80% told the organisation that they would be interested in a service which would allow them to discuss any problems or issues they were experiencing with their parent/carer.

With thanks to funding from Children in Need, Parenting NI have been able to make this a service available to young people. The Face2Face service will focus on the exploration of issues as well as the introduction of practical strategies which can help engage, encourage and motivate change for children/young people and their families. It is the young persons choice how involved they would like their parent or carer to be in sessions.

The benefits and use of creative techniques and activities can be explored and used with agreement from both the child/young person and parent/carer. Activities can be used to address issues ranging from anger management, social skills, stress reduction, to self-esteem.

All families are unique and have different problems and concerns. Parenting NI counsellors are experienced and trained to work with families, children and young people to help resolve problems or improve their situation.

Watch our video to find out more about this service and call us on 0808 8010 722 for more information.

Chat to Us Online

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We are really excited to announce that from Monday 29th February we will be launching our online live chat service. Live Chat will be available Monday to Friday between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm.

We are delighted to be able to introduce this free, online service to enable parents and carers to chat instantly to Parenting NI experienced support workers regarding any parenting or family issues. All chats are kept confidential (within the limits of our code of confidentiality) between the parents/carers and the Parenting NI support staff.

Parents requiring support outside of the hours that Live Chat will be available should call the freephone helpline number on 0808 8010 722, which is available Monday – Thursday 9 am to 8 pm and Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Any parents needing support outside of any of these hours can email help@parentingni.org and will be contacted as soon as possible.

Play Your Part, Share A Heart

Today is Safer Internet Day which sees thousands of organisations and people across the UK get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

This years theme is “Play Your Part for a Better Internet”. The UK Safer Internet Centre are encouraging everyone to play their part by sharing a heart today. Using the heart, a universal sign for love, to promote respect and kindness online this Safer Internet Day.

We’ve used #ShareAHeart to write some positive messages for parents. Take a look at the gallery below.

If you would like support around internet safety and your child’s internet use please get in touch and call us on 0808 8010 722.

Information for Parents and Carers

Benefits and Tax Credit Impact on Families Study

We have been contacted by Rosanna a student at Queen’s University who is looking for parents to volunteer to become research participants.

If you are currently living with your partner and receive one or more of the following:

  • Child Tax Credits / Working Tax Credits
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseekers Allowance

You may be eligible to take part in this important project.

The purpose of this research is to understand how cuts and freezes to benefits and tax credits impact on the budgeting and work decision-making of couple families in Northern Ireland who have claimed income and employment related benefits within the past eighteen months.

If you choose to become a participant, Rosanna will contact you by telephone to arrange an interview for a time that suits you. The interview will last approximately 1 hour. It will begin with a brief questionnaire, followed by an informal conversation.

asda As a thank you for taking part you will receive a £10 Asda voucher per couple.

If you could spare an hour to have an informal chat with Rosanna you can call her on 07732515543 or email rmcsorley04@qub.ac.uk 

“Make it Normal” to Attend Parenting Programmes

David Cameron announced yesterday that he would like parenting programmes to be available for all families. The governments new “Life Chances Strategy” outlines the plans that would hope to “make it normal – even aspirational to attend parenting classes.”
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Parenting NI has been offering and delivering parenting programmes since 1998 and during that time many parents have told us of how beneficial these programmes have been in helping them to be more effective parents. In those 17 years we have seen an increase in the number of parents who want to get involved and attend parenting programmes. We listen to the needs of parents and design the programmes to reflect the wide range of issues that parents ask us to support them with.

The approach to parenting programmes should be respect the parents as knowing their child better than anyone else and building on their skills to increase their knowledge of parenting and make parents feel more confident.

Evidence shows that children who know rules and boundaries and have their emotional needs met are more content, happier children who achieve better in life. However, we must acknowledge that this is not an easy task and support for parents should be made readily available to ensure children have the best start possible.

The saying is true, “children don’t come with a manual” and all parents need support at some time with how to manage the many and various issues, such as challenging behaviour, the effect of separation and mental health. Parenting is a complex task and at Parenting NI we know parents want to be the best parents they can be and really value support.

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Our Chief Executive was interviewed about this subject yesterday. You can listen back online by clicking the button below.

Listen to the interview

FREE Wellbeing Programmes

At the start of a new year we often make resolutions, promising to do something that will make this year that will improve on the previous year.

This January why not attend one of the Family Wellness Project FREE Wellbeing Programmes and set yourself up for a happy, healthy 2016. If you live in the Western or the Southern Trust areas you could benefit from attending any of the programmes on offer.

Aware NI, a Family Wellness Project partner, well being delivering a number of programmes this month. The programmes include Mood Matters and Living Life to the Full. These programmes will help you to manage your feelings, maintain and regain good mental health, and build resilience to deal with life’s challenges.

Mindfulness has proven to be a popular programme and will also be running in January. Research has shown that Mindfulness has significant benefits for health and well-being. Clinical evidence also says that Mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety for those with the illness of depression. It enables people to learn the skills that prevent the recurrence of depression.

If you are interested in getting involved and taking part in any of the programmes contact Rachel Cashel on 07773221967 or email Rachel.Cashel@mindwisenv.org.

Find a Programme  Learn More