minding our children may 2013

How do we mind our
Dr Hester O Connor
Principal Psychology Manager HSE
Dublin South West/Kildare West
May 8th 2013
What will be covered in this talk
What questions would you like answered in
this talk?
Talking to young people about difficult topicssuicide, internet, drugs, alcohol
What help is available for young people in
The task facing parents
How do you manage yourself and at the
same time make sense of what is going on
In the ABSENCE of information from your
son or daughter?
What does not work
Asking questions that lead to a yes or no answer
–give a menu of options
Eye contact with boys /mothers asking
questions to point the youngster can’t handle it
Showing how anxious you are
Walking the tightrope
Trying to get a balance between being an
important presence in their life not an
Invasive presence
What works at the moment ?
What doesn’t ?
What helps you open up? – the same applies
to your children
What have you noticed about how
your child tells you things?
What makes them clam up?
Jumping down their throat doesn’t help
Do you get more information when you seem to
have your attention half somewhere else? Like
when you give them a lift, or serving up meals?
Don’t add to the drama
Over reacting adds to the drama, & disinterest
likely to cause escalation in behaviour, stay calm
in the interest of gathering information
Listen even if you don’t like what you hear- we
all crave to be heard
Managing your anxiety
Somehow you need to find a way to manage
your anxiety even as you ask questions
If you over react you might reinforce a drama or
create one where none existed
Knowing the difference between behaviour that
seeks for a response Vs behaviour that is a real
You are by their side not on their side
Many Parents would do anything to be
friends with their childrenTHIS COMES WITH A PRICE
The School & The family
What happens in school is the business of
What happens outside school is the business of
the school
There needs to be a flow of information
between the two
Children stuck between parents
 Remember
if you want what is best for
your child you have to as parents
 Set
aside your differences for the
child’s sake
 Many
parents are not doing this
In discussing Suicide
Suicide – be honest
- avoid speculation and sensationalisation
- acknowledge the finality of death
-Asking the question won’t put the idea in
someone’s head
- be open to young people expressing all
sorts of feelings
The most powerful influence in a
young person’s life
the presence of an adult who cares about them,
someone who believes in them and who listens
to them
Young People at Risk
Significant change in behaviour
Withdrawal from favourite activities
Death in family, or break-up or other significant
Exhibiting signs of anxiety or depression
6 in 10 Irish children (aged 9 to16) have a
profile on a social networking website.
Rules say not for under 13
Maintaining a profile is their third most
popular thing to do on the internet
Steps to becoming an internet parent
1 Familiarise
2 Explore for yourself
3 Restrict – consider parental controls such as filtering
4 Know - Be aware of the potential dangers and know where
to report potentially illegal or inappropriate behaviour
Alcohol & drugs have a seriously damaging
effect on young people
We can’t afford to turn a Blind Eye
Be sensible-know where your child is, know
where your purse is-how much is in it?
DRUG DEBT & Young People
This is a new menace in Ireland
Young person can feel so frightened over a
small debt for Cannabis eg 200 Euros that
they might feel suicidal and not know
where to turn
Find someone to talk to-don’t keep it
Help in Rathangan
Support in Ard Scoil is helping, what else would
you like to see?
Scooters Youth Club –fantastic support for
young people
HOPE-D counselling now available in
HALO –Drug & Alcohol support
& thanks to those who
helped in preparation of this
Useful Resources