Call for More Support for Parents in the Workplace

Work Life 2016
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National Work Life Week runs this week from 3rd – 7th October. This campaign offers employers and employees an opportunity to focus on wellbeing at work and managing work life balance.

Local charity Parenting NI is calling on employers to use the week to think about how they support parents in the workplace. Research published by Working Families recently revealed that a third of employed parents in the UK reported being ‘burned out’ often or all the time and many will take annual or sick leave to cope.

Interim CEO of Parenting NI, Charlene Brooks says “The pressures on families are ever increasing, and adding work stress into the mix can take its toll on parents. As a parent of 3 young children myself I am very familiar with the challenges of juggling the many tasks modern day parenthood presents us with. It’s important that parents know that support is available, so this Work Life Week we are encouraging employers to consider what they can do to support their parent employees in the workplace.”

Growing research demonstrates the importance of parent employee’s health and wellbeing in relation to work performance and effectiveness. Workplace access to parenting support leads to reduced work-family and family-work spill over and improved worker morale and performance.

Charlene Brooks continued, “Whilst we are encouraged by the increase in the number of employers who are contacting Parenting NI about wanting to provide support for parents in the workplace; there is still a need for employers to recognise that a family friendly workplace will make for a more productive, more engaged and more motivated workforce. Absentee rates are also much more likely to reduce and employers are more likely to be successful at recruiting and retaining staff.”

The organisation are also encouraging employers to embrace ‘Go Home On Time Day’ on Wednesday 5th October, ensuring staff are not working late and get home in time to spend quality time with their families.

Parenting NI offer a range of workshops that are specifically tailored to help support parent employees. Get in touch or visit our Employee Wellbeing section of the website to find out more about the sessions.

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.

Take Part in New Local Documentary

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Are you facing the increasing clash between work and childcare? The stress of financial pressures having a big impact on your family relationships? Do you have a big family and despite working hard are still struggling with money? You have a story worth telling and could take part in a new local documentary.

Belfast based documentary makers Erica Starling Productions are researching for a new BBC documentary series. The documentary will be about life choices, how money problems can affect these choices and the knock on consequences.

The team at Erica Starling are interested in meeting with groups or individuals and have a chat with them to better understand the issues they are facing, particularly where finances are placing extra pressure on you or your family. They would like to meet just for a chat as part of their research initially, but would hope to be able to film with those who would be interested in sharing their story. The aim of the documentary is for it to be a warm piece to help audiences understand the challenges families are facing.

If you would be interested in taking part or would like to find out more about the project please drop Sharon an email or give her a call on 07547 535119.

Coping With Exam Results Stress

Exam Results

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Exam results day is upon us! It is normal to want the very best for your child’s future and to therefore feel a little anxious about their exam results.

Stress is normal but it’s not good for you or your child to be worrying. In this blog we’re going to give you some top tips on how you can ease your own stress and help your young person on results day.

1. Get a good nights sleep
We can often find it difficult to sleep if we have worries playing on our mind but a nice sleep the night before will put you in a good frame of mind for what lies ahead. Sticking to a normal routine will also help to keep things as worry free as possible.  If you are well rested emotions are less likely to boil over due to tiredness.

2. Be prepared for ‘Plan B’
If the results don’t go the way you’re hoping for or aren’t what you expected, encourage your young person to think about other options, for example looking at different courses/universities through Clearing.

3. Keep calm and don’t panic
Try to remain calm and encourage your child to stay calm and not to worry if they don’t get the results they need or would have liked. Encourage them to take deep breaths and to relax as it will make it easier to process everything and think through their next steps.

4. Remember to reassure
Try to promote the positives regardless of the results. Your young person will probably worry about letting you down so reassure them that they won’t be letting anyone down and that you will be there for them to work through the next steps.

5. Take your time
Encourage your child not to make decisions too quickly. Sit with them to discuss what they want to do next and weigh up the options. Clearing opens in the afternoon and so gives you time to prepare and reassess the situation before starting the process.

What can my child do to reduce exam results stress?
Below are a few things you can do to make you and your child feel more at ease before results day. Worrying won't change the result to try and make sure everyone in the house feels relaxed.

If you are feeling anxious or your young person is anxious and feeling disappointed with their exam results there is help and support available. Parents you can give us a call on 0808 8010 722 or have a chat with us on Web Chat between 10 am and 2 pm. Your child may find the links below useful.

NI Direct Results   CCEA Results Information UCAS Results Helpline   BBC Advice

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.

Go Pyjamarama at Quayside Walk

Pajamarama 30th July Calling all parents and families in Derry~Londonderry! We want you to get involved with our awareness raising and fundraising event on the Quayside next month!

Dress up in your favourite PJ’s, onesies, nighties and slippers and take part in the first ever Pyjamarama event on Saturday 30th July at 1pm – from Sainsbury’s Cafe Strand Road.

The walk will follow the Quayside route down to River side – and then back again – approx 2 miles in total.  Participants can run, walk, scoot, hop, skip, jog, wheel, cycle or stroll – any mode possible as long as they join us to help raise funds and awareness of Parenting NI. There will be lots going on to entertain little ones with facepainting and balloon making and refreshments will be provided for all at the Sainsbury’s cafe after the event.

We would love to see you all there! Interested? Visit the Get Involved page and fill in the events booking form.

Abseil the Europa Parenting NI!

Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights…

This September you can reach great heights for families across Northern Ireland.

Abseil the Europa!

Have you a head for heights or fancy conquering a fear? Set yourself a challenge and test your nerve by getting involved in Parenting NI’s first ever abseil event!

Join us on Sunday 25th of September and raise funds to help Parenting NI continue to provide much needed services for parents across Northern Ireland.

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Stay tuned for more news about exciting fundraising activities from Parenting NI in the near future!

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.