Parenting a young adult

Parenting | 10 Ways to Parent a Young Adult

Parenting a Young AdultMoving from constant active parenting when our children are young to the parenting of a young adult can be difficult. Raising our children dominates our lives for so long that it can be tough to know what to do with ourselves once they grow up and begin to explore their independence and build lives of their own.

This week in our ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, we share some ideas to support you to define and embrace your role as the parent of a young adult.

  1. Space; allow your young adult their own space. Accept that they may not want or need to see or call you as often. Let them know you will always be there for them, check in with them, and then move on and start to enjoy your own time.
  2. Try not to always question what they are doing with their life even if you feel they could make different choices at times.
  3. Listen to their plans and ideas, and support them as best you can. Hear what they are saying and smile.
  4. Allow them to make their own choices and to learn from the mistakes they make along the way, knowing that you are always there for them.
  5. If they still live with you, respect them as young adults in the home. Agree boundaries together but try not to control them by imposing rules.
  6. Try not to judge your child; they may drink or stay out all night at some time, is this often simply a part of being young and not having too many responsibilities.
  7. They might seem to you to spend their money foolishly but once they are not looking for a hand out, and meet any responsibilities they do have, be happy for them. For most of us, there’s a short enough window in life when we can enjoy what money we have before our financial responsibilities grow.
  8. Spend time with them and know them as an adult, watch how they are in the world and in their community. Let them go freely into the world.
  9. Make plans for your own life separate to being a parent. For many of us, our lives are consumed with raising our children and we might find that our own personal dreams are put aside. Take steps now around planning and achieving your dreams.
  10. Enjoy them; enjoy their energy and enthusiasm for life. It may seem like only yesterday that your child was a baby and now you see them grown, forging ahead and making their own way in life. They have the tools to do this. You have succeeded. Your roles may change but you will always be their parent. Take pride in seeing what they have become.

This article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

Parenting | How do you parent your child who is now a young adult?

Young Adult

As parents, we experience many transitions as our children grow.

For so many years you may have felt physically exhausted raising your child. When they are a baby, you think it will be easier when they start to walk. When they walked, you realised it was still hard. You think once they go to school it will be easier and soon you realise the endless work involved in after school runs and play dates, not to mention homework. You may have dreaded the teen years. How would your child cope when they took their first drink? How do you cope when if they come home drunk? What about pregnancy? What about exams? Will they get into university?

Well, you and your child have survived all of that and they are now a young adult. They have possibly moved out, but where are they living and with whom? You dread to think. What do they get up to when they are too busy to call? Or maybe they still live at home, but you never actually see them; just the delph and washing piling up. You can’t do ‘time out’ any longer or make plans with them. They are busy living their own life now. It seems that your job as mum or dad is no longer required.

This can be very hard. We wish all the time that our children will grow and develop, gain and achieve, and be successful and happy. We worry so much about them and try to fix life for them, and all of a sudden they are grown up. You were watching them but still you never noticed that they were reaching this stage. Now you’re wondering what your role is.

If your young adult has moved out then you can really feel like part of your body has been removed, a part that you looked after very carefully for so many years. Even if at times it was a part you wished was independent, really you were always so glad to have it. Now it’s gone and you wonder what to do. It can be very hard to let go of your child, to trust that they know what they are doing and that even if they don’t, they will learn as they go, just as we did. Life is for making mistakes!

At times they will call you and say they were out of credit, they will come by for Sunday lunch and be delighted when you give them a few bits and bobs for the week ahead. They know how to cope with everyday issues; they can deal with the annoying flat mate or the bossy colleague. They may spend their money foolishly – well, lucky for them as the bills will start soon enough. And they get by, happy out. They may wish at times that someone would do their washing, but amazingly enough they have even learned how to use the washing machine. The time has come when they don’t need your advice every day, because you have prepared them well for life.

Why is it that you mourn the loss of their childhood? You often wish that they were small again and close by. Letting go is really hard, but seeing your young adult free in the world, loving life and living their dreams makes it all bearable.

Once your child gets to this stage wish them well, listen to what their plans are and support them as best you can. At times you may not want to support them, or even talk with them; for example, when they make what you feel are foolish decisions or when they seem selfish, always putting themselves first. Just remember that this is what you have wanted for them. Be there for them when they do call, and don’t dwell on why they didn’t before. Share what you have with them even if you are still waiting on a birthday gift. Listen to them and hear them, try not to tell them what to do or what to think. Allow them own their own life and wish them well. Let them know you will always be there for them, for as long as you live and then move on and start to enjoy your own life.

If your young adult is still living with you, try to agree boundaries with them. Treat them with respect and ask for cooperation. You do not need to parent them as if they were a child. Trying to baby your young adult will cause you to lose them, if not physically then emotionally. Sit with them and agree what you both need from each other and agree ways forward. Enjoy them and stay calm. If they are not worried that they only had three hours sleep, then why should you be worried?

For so many years our lives are consumed with raising our children and for many parents, our own personal dreams are put aside. If you are still in the early years of parenting, try to make time for your dreams. It can be harder to know where to start and to even know who you are, if you wait until your children are all grown up. Take steps now around planning and achieving your dreams. This will also support you to parent now. When we look after our own needs and try to ensure we meet them, we will be much more positive and able to meet the needs of our children.

Active parenting is just one part of your life. When you have completed this chapter, look to the next and find new things and new relationships to fulfil your needs. Look back with fondness on the memory of bringing up your child, but don’t hold onto the past and wish for your child back.

Your child, thanks to you, has found their own life and their own way in the world. This really what you wished for, it was the plan all along. You have not only survived, but you have succeeded in your task. You have supported your baby to become a young adult.

Learn to enjoy your young adult.

If you are struggling with how to cope now that your active parenting days have come to an end, call our askonefamily helpline on 1890 66 22 12 / 01 662 9212. We may be able to support you to understand what your young adult needs from you now and also help you to explore your future.

Family Situation

Talking to Your Child About Your Family Situation

Family Situation2015 is shaping up to be a big year for children’s rights, especially with regard to Family Law. Children are now being placed at the centre of legislation that directly affects them and their parents. Talking about your family situation can be difficult especially if you, as a parent, are struggling to cope yourself. Here are a few tips to help you to open a dialogue with your children and ease them  into a secure understanding  of their family.

  1. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to know about both biological parents.
  2. Parents need to explain their family situation to their children in a way that fosters respect for the other parent and allows children to feel positively about their family.
  3. Being able to talk to a child positively about their family situation allows trust to develop between a parent and a child.
  4. Both parents have rights and with those rights come responsibilities to ensure that parents meet the child’s best interests.
  5. According to Irish law, access (to parents) is the right of the child.
  6. Be truthful with children and answer questions in a way that is respectful to the other parent and age appropriate to the child.
  7. If you live with your parents and they behave like parents to your child then be honest about the real nature of the relationship.
  8. If a new partner is like a parent to your child be truthful about the real nature of the relationship.
  9. Use and create opportunities for talking about your family situation.
  10. Start early and be prepared to add information as your children get older. Children are well able for the truth, they often want the facts to help them understand and feel less vulnerable.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming up Next Week: 10 ways to Parent Through Stressful Times.

LIVE Facebook Q&A on this topic with Geraldine, 9 March from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook pageJoin in and post your questions.

Next you might like to read: 10 ways to Support Grandparents Relationships With Your Child, 10 ways to Nurture Your Role As A Step Parent or 10 ways to Explain An Absent Parent.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email

one euro coin

askonefamily Budget 2015 Changes Summarised

There was little change in the Budget to address the needs of one-parent and shared parenting families in Ireland. However, the main rates of social welfare payments went unchanged and there was a small increase in Child Benefit rates for 2015. A small bonus for Christmas for recipients of many social welfare payments was also among the Budget 2015 announcements made today. askonefamily, our information service, summarises the key changes relevant to one-parent families below.

Summary of Relevant Budget 2015 Changes

Main social welfare payments rates (including One Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and others)

  • The rates of weekly payment will remain the same in 2015

Child Benefit

  • Increase of €5 per month, per child, from January 2015 to €135 a month, per child.

Back to School Clothing and Footwear

  • This payment is maintained in 2015

NEW***Christmas Bonus

  • Recipients of long term social welfare payments will receive a bonus payment of 25% of weekly payment this December 2014. This includes recipients of One Parent Family Payment, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Allowance, long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition, Community Employment, Back to Work Allowance, Widow/Widower’s pension, Job Initiative and some others

NEW***Back to Work Family Dividend

  • For one-parent families and long term jobseeker families with children who find or return to work, they will be able to retain the Qualified Child Increase of €29.80 per child, per week, for 12 months and then 50% of the rate for a second year. This applies to employment and self-employment.  This Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) will be in addition to eligibility for Family Income Supplement (FIS) and will not affect the level of FIS payment.
  •  In order to be eligible for the BTWFD then a person must be coming off their main social welfare payment (One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition), in full and going into employment or self-employment.   A person who is already in employment and in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and who then increases their hours of employment to the point that they are no longer eligible for OFP because their earnings from work are in excess of €425 a week (gross) or who is no longer entitled to an OFP payment because of the age of their youngest child may then qualify for the BTWFD.  Applications will be open in January 2015.

NEW***Water Subsidy

  • For those in receipt of Fuel Allowance then an additional €100 a year will be paid as support towards water services. The Water Support payment will be paid at a rate of €25, four times a year for a total yearly payment of €100.  First payments will be issuing by the end of March 2015. If you have been awarded the Fuel Allowance then you will automatically receive the Water Support payment.


  • No increase in taxes on petrol or diesel or Motor tax

Income tax

  • Increase in the standard rate tax band for a single people from €32,800 to €33,800
  • Higher tax rate reduced from 41% to 40%

Universal Social Charge (USC)

  • The Universal Social Charge rates have been reduced; the 2% rate drops to 1.5% and the 4% rate drops to 3.5%
  • Entry point for paying USC going up from just over €10,000 to just over €12,000 in 2015


If you would like further clarification on any of Budget changes, contact askonefamily on 1890 66 22 12 or by email.


Volunteer with our askonefamily Helpline

logoAre you interested in a challenging and vital volunteer role that makes a real difference?

We are seeking volunteers for askonefamily, One Family’s national lo-call helpline service for all members of one-parent families and those who share parenting, their families and friends, and professionals working with them. The aim of the role is to assist helpline callers in finding their own resolution to issues affecting them through the provision of information and emotional support. Based in Cherish House, Dublin 2, full training and ongoing support and supervision will be provided.

If you are:

  • Able to listen
  • A clear communicator
  • Able to commit to a daytime helpline shift once a week (3+ hours)
  • Fluent in English
  • Able to attend six half days (non-consecutive) of training, during the day
  • And have basic computer skills

We can offer you:

  • Helpline training and skills development
  • The opportunity to work with diverse families
  • Regular support in the role
  • A chance to be involved in a developing service

If this rewarding volunteer opportunity is of interest, please click here for the full role specification and application form.

10 Ways to Positively Maintain Contact

For many parents sharing parenting after separation, one parent is the ‘primary carer’ and the other ‘non-resident’ or ‘contact’ parent, spends their time with their child at weekends and holidays. It can be challenging for parents in this situation, especially if trust has been broken, to put their feelings about their ex to one side. Remaining focused on the needs of your child is important. In time, a shared parenting relationship can become established where you can both share the positives of being parents.

As part of our ’10 Ways to …’ series of weekly parenting tips, here are our tips for non-resident/contact parents to positively maintain contact to help both parents to focus on keeping their child at the centre of parenting.

1. Once agreed: When you have managed to agree on contact, follow through.
2. Be on time: Timekeeping is crucial. The other parent can and will feel very disrespected if you are late and children can become very anxious and upset.
3. Turn up: This is your time with your child. It may not be exactly what you want but it’s what you have now. Turn up and be with your child. Nothing else should take its place. Rearrange other things – never your child!
4. Maintenance: Try to stick to all court orders and don’t give ammunition to the other parent. Some parents might use maintenance as a bargaining tool.
5. Plan your time: Make contact fun. It doesn’t have to cost much money. Make it child friendly and interact at a very high level with your child. You can rest later.
6. Involve your child: Plan with your child each week. Talk with them and ask them what they would like to do. Follow through.
7. Respect: Always speak well of the other parent even if you don’t feel it. They are your child’s parent and you can impact greatly on their ability to parent and in turn, your child’s well-being.
8. Be back on time: Again, respect the agreement. The resident parent can and will become very distressed even if the child is 5 minutes late.
9. Parent: When with your child be an active parent. Play with them, talk with them and have fun and laugh together.
10. Don’t quiz your child: It’s not your child’s job to keep you informed about the other parent. Talk about school, activities, their likes and dislikes. Talk with them as needed about why you can’t live with them all the time any more. They will seek explanations and want to understand their family form as they grow. No Blame! Children usually love both parents regardless of wrong doings, mind them and enjoy them. Don’t make life hard for them.

If you found this post useful, you might also like to read 10 Ways to Successful Shared Parenting. One Family offers a range of services to parents sharing parenting or parenting alone after separation. You can find out about them here. If you need support, information or advice, contact our lo-call askonefamily helpline on 1890 66 22 12 /

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Understand How Your Child May Feel and 10 Ways to Problem Solving.

One Family offers a range of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.


Coping with the End of a Relationship

A relationship ending can mean a huge sense of loss, shock and disbelief, and result in anger, fear and stress. There are many practical issues to be sorted out which can seem overwhelming, particularly in a difficult break-up without both persons cooperating. These practical issues need attention and the sooner separating parents begin resolving them, the sooner the family can settle into new routines and arrangements.

5 Ways to Cope with the End of a Relationship

  1. Talk to your children about what is happening in the family, once the decision to separate is final. Mums and dads might like to think children are not aware of difficulties between them but they often notice more than you think and it is important to let them know that the separation is not their fault. It is an emotional and uncertain time for all of you. If you can talk to them together it can help your children to understand that you are both available to them at this time, despite what is happening. Share future plans and arrangements with them, if possible.
  2. Set aside the issues of your adult relationship when it comes to the relationship that your children have with their other parent – try to remain courteous towards them or if this is too difficult, be neutral as your children love both of you.
  3. Find someone you trust to talk to. Get support from a trusted friend or professional – family members can also be supportive in many ways although sometimes may be less impartial, especially when there may be conflict between the couple.  It is important that you have a space to talk about how you are feeling.
  4. Consider mediation. This can be a way of negotiating and working out a plan for the future, on everything from money to sharing parenting.  See for details of the free Family Mediation Service in many locations around the country.
  5. Get legal advice. You do not need to do anything with it but it may help in your decision-making to know where you stand legally and what options may be there, if needed. See FLAC (Free Legal Aid Advice Centres) on for details of the legal advice centre nearest you.

There is no denying that this is a particularly difficult time but trying to remain optimistic and acknowledging your feelings will help. One Family’s national lo-call askonefamily helpline is available on 1890 662 212 and by email at

Further information is also available in the askonefamily section of this site.

Update on the Single Person Child Carer Credit

Many worried parents are calling our askonefamily lo-call helpline regarding the Single Person Child Carer Credit which has replaced the One-Parent Family Credit from 1st January 2014. The Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) is different from the One-Parent Family Credit (OPFC) as now it is only available to one parent – the parent with whom the child lives for a majority of the year – whereas previously both parents could each claim the credit for their child.

Revenue refer to the Primary Claimant and the Secondary Claimant; the first being the parent with whom the child lives for either the full year or most of the year and the second being the parent with whom the child spends time and resides for at least 100 days in the year.

The qualifying conditions are:

  • That your child is either born in the tax year, is aged under 18 at the start of the tax year or over 18 but in full time education.
  • As the claimant you must not be cohabiting or be jointly assessed for tax (either as married or civilly partnered) or be married or civilly partnered (unless separated) or widowed or a surviving civil partner in the year for which you are making the claim.

Who can claim?

  • If the parent with whom the child lives most of the time (primary claimant) does not avail of the SPCCC then it can be relinquished by completing the form SPCCC1. This then means the other parent (secondary claimant) can claim it by completing form SPCCC2, as long as they satisfy the criteria, in that the child must live with them for at least 100 days in the year.
  • In instances where the court has awarded joint custody then the parent who receives the Child Benefit will receive the SPCCC.  If they are not in employment, or they choose to do so, then it can be relinquished and the other parent can claim it instead, as the secondary claimant.

In the event of the primary claimant relinquishing the tax credit and the secondary claimant applying for and being allocated it, then it remains with this person for the full tax year.  If the primary claimant then applies for it during the year (if they go into employment) then it will remain with the secondary claimant for the rest of that year but it will then be allocated to the primary claimant for the following tax year.

The Revenue website has a list of Frequently Asked Questions which may help you determine who may qualify for the SPCCC for your family, as well as links to the relevant forms which can be downloaded; click here for more information.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact our askonefamily lo-call helpline on 1890 66 22 12 or by email.

The impact of these changes is likely to be initially most strongly experienced by parents as we reach the end of January as, for many, the first monthly salary of 2014 will be processed at that time. One Family will continue to advocate on this issue. To read our recent press releases concerning it, please click on the clicks below:

Government has hindered not helped One-Parent Families in 2013

Shared Parenting Penalised by Government as Flexibilities Problematic on One Parent Family Tax Credit

Attack on Parents Sharing Parenting After Separation is Unjust, Unfair and Underhand

More attacks on working mothers and shared parenting; Budget 2014 is anti-family and anti-parent




One-Parent Family Payment Income Disregard Change

Later this week, the Department of Social Protection will be issuing letters to affected One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) recipients informing them that, from 1 January 2014, the OFP scheme’s income disregard will be reduced from its current amount of €110 per week to €90 per week for the duration of 2014.

In Budget 2012, it was announced that there would be a gradual reduction in the amount of earnings from employment that would be ignored (disregarded) when calculating the rate of OFP paid and that this change would come in over a number of years.

In 2012 the amount ignored was €130; in 2013 it is €110; in 2014 it will be €90; and it will decrease further to €75 in 2015 and €60 in 2016.

From 1 January 2014, you can have earnings of €90 without it affecting the rate of payment of OFP and so if your earnings are greater than €90 per week, then your rate of OFP will be changed to take this new rate into account.

It is important to note that if there has been any change in your circumstances which may affect your entitlement to One-Parent Family Payment, including a change in your weekly earnings, then you should notify your local social welfare office so that a review of your entitlement can be carried out, and if you have moved recently and not informed them of your new address yet, it is important to do so.

How might this change affect you? We have included a Q&A below based on commonly occurring situations.

askonefamily Questions:

Q. I have a letter to say that my One-Parent Family Payment will change in 2014 because I am working and earning €150 a week. Do I have to do anything?

A. No, the adjustment to your rate of payment will happen automatically; however if there are any changes in your circumstance such as a change of income then you should contact your local social welfare office to let them know of this.

Q. I earn €110 a week at the moment and still get the full payment for myself and my daughter. Does this change mean I will lose some of my payment next year?

A. Yes, the reduction from €110 to €90 means that you will now be means-tested as having €10 a week. You are only means tested on half of the difference, so for your earnings of €110 as the disregard will be €90 this leave €20 in the difference and you will then be means tested on half of this, which is €10 per week. This will mean a small reduction in your One Parent Family Payment. If your earnings from work are your only additional income you would expect to see a reduction in payment of €2.50 a week.

Q. I am working part time and earning €120 a week. Up until now this has been my only income apart from One-Parent Family Payment but my son’s Dad has got a job and is now going to be paying maintenance of €30 a week.  What should I do?

A. As your income will increase once you start receiving maintenance because this is a change in your circumstances, you will need to let your local social welfare office know.  Up to the first €95.23 of maintenance maybe disregarded if you have rent or housing costs. 

If you would like any additional information about how your circumstances may be affected, please call our askonefamily national helpline on lo-call 1890 662 212 or email