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Press Release | Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting Survey Results Revealed

Press Release

Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting Survey Results Revealed

Over 1,000 separated parents document their positives and challenges

(Dublin, Monday 30th January 2017) Today One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting, and separating – publishes the results of its Shared Parenting Survey and accompanying policy recommendations at a launch in Dublin’s Mansion House with speakers including Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection and Child Law Expert; Josepha Madigan TD and Family Law Solicitor; Keith Walsh, Chair of the Law Society of Ireland Family and Child Law Committee, Solicitor and mediator; and Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO. One Family has 45 years experience of working with, and representing, one-parent families and those who share parenting, and devised and conducted the survey in response to a damaging lack of awareness and services experienced by these families.

The survey response was overwhelming with 1,014 women and men who share, or have attempted to share, parenting of their children after separation documenting their sometimes harrowing, yet often positive, personal experiences. The data, gathered in July and August last year, will finally give a voice to these parents and their children, and can inform appropriate policies and services in the future.

Key findings include:

  • The majority of respondents whose child does not live with them most of time, spend time with their child on a weekly basis.
  • While almost 27% of respondents arranged this time amicably between them, for almost 51% it was agreed with difficulty, through mediation or court ordered.
  • 62% of respondents whose child lives with them most or all of the time stated that their child’s other parent contributes financially to their child’s costs; 38% stated that the other parent does not contribute financially.
  • Over 50% of respondents stated that they do not make decicions jointly on issues that impact on their child(ren).
  • Over 34% of respondents have attended mediation.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, comments: “Our survey highlights the positives and the challenges, and the diversity and range, of shared parenting relationships in Ireland today. It finds that parents overwhelmingly agree that their children must be their central focus, but that conflict between them often impedes this. What helped some was a commitment to the mediation process, where it was available and appropriate.” Karen continues: “Maintenance, accommodation and finances are cited many times as huge obstacles to be overcome, as were domestic violence and the family law courts system.”

Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Child Law Expert comments: “We must ensure that we hear the voices of children appropriately in family law cases as provided for in the Children’s Referendum. This will require investment in the necessary infrastructure to make sure that children who live in shared parenting families have the best possible arrangements in place.”

Keith Walsh, Chair of the Law Society of Ireland Family and Child Law Committee, comments: “Given that the Children & Family Relationships Act 2015 is now in place, bringing modernity to legislation in relation to families, we now need the infrastructure of courts to keep pace. According to One Family’s findings, over 50% of respondents stated that they believed court services needed to be improved and that family supports such as parenting programmes, counselling and mediation would assist them in sharing parenting. We badly need a court welfare system and services available to family court users to improve outcomes for parents and children, improve efficiencies in the court system and reduce repeated court visits. The new family law facility planned for Hammond Lane in Dublin must provide these support services and all stakeholders in the family law system now need to work together to ensure that the best family law system is put in place. One Family has started the dialogue and we all need to plan a better way to solve family law problems.”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager, comments: “Our recommendations stress the urgent need for cohesive and consolidated policy and practice changes across Government Departments that will result in a reduction of child poverty in Ireland. Evidence shows that separation, shared parenting and parenting alone are associated with less income for children, yet subsequent budgets have targeted women and men in these parenting situations, with negative outcomes for children. It is time for policies and services to catch up with the realities for families in Ireland today.”

One Family’s National Shared Parenting Survey: Results & Recommendations report is available to read/download online on www.onefamily.ie and on this link:

National Shared Parenting Survey: Results & Recommendations

One Family extends its sincere gratitude to each of the 1,014 parents who responded to this survey. This report draws directly from their survey responses and directly quotes many of their comments. Their honesty and openness will help to make Ireland a better place to share parenting in the future.

Notes for Editors

  • 1 in 4 families with children in Ireland is a one-parent family (Census 2011)
  • Almost 1 in 5 children (18.3%) live in a one-parent family (Census 2011)
  • There are over 215,000 one-parent families in Ireland today – 25.8% of all families with children (Census 2011)
  • 5% of one-parent families are headed by a father (Census 2011)
  • Family Relationships and Family Well-Being: A Study of the Families of Nine Year-Olds in Ireland by Tony Fahey, Patricia Keilthy and Ela Polek (2012): Shared Parenting in Lone Parent and Step Families (pg. 24) contains information on shared parenting in Ireland and can be read on www.onefamily.ie/Policy/Campaigns

About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and celebrates its 45th year in 2017. It is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting, or separating, offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (www.familyday.ie). For further information, visit www.onefamily.ie.

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Parents who are separated and sharing parenting.

Further Information

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511

 

 

Policy | Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting Survey: Results & Recommendations

SPResults_Cover Image_LRIn 2016, One Family devised and conducted Ireland’s first national Shared Parenting Survey in response to a lack of public debate and narrative around shared parenting in modern Ireland. Over one thousand women and men who share parenting, or who have attempted to, responded.

The results have been analysed, and we are pleased to now publish a report entitled Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting Survey: Results & Recommendations which can be read or downloaded by clicking on the image on the left.

Key findings include:

  • The majority of respondents whose child does not live with them most of time, spend time with their child on a weekly basis.
  • While almost 27% of respondents arranged this time amicably between them, for almost 51% it was agreed with difficulty, through mediation or court ordered.
  • 62% of respondents whose child lives with them most or all of the time stated that their child’s other parent contributes financially to their child’s costs; 38% stated that the other parent does not contribute financially.
  • Just over 50% of respondents stated that they do not make decisions jointly on issues that impact on their child(ren).
  • Over 34% of respondents have attended mediation.

One Family extends its sincere gratitude to each of the parents who took the time to share their personal experiences. This report draws directly from their survey responses and includes many of their comments. One Family believes that their honesty and openness will help to make Ireland a better place to share parenting in the future.

Parenting Tips | Enjoying quality time

cup-1031774_1920Many parents look forward to days-off so we can do activities with our children and perhaps take them to places such as the cinema, bowling, play centres etc. Without realising, we train our children into wanting to go places. They think the weekends are about being active and going out and about all the time. But children also like fun days at home with parents. They too may have had a busy week in school and may appreciate some time to relax. So slow down and keep it simple! Here are tips on spending quality, relaxed time with your children:

  1. Organise some arts and crafts. Children love sitting at the table for hours with glue and bits of paper, cutting and sticking. For older children, you could make it more elaborate and invest in some craft materials and really enjoy a day of make and do. Set yourself a challenge for the day.
  2. Why not visit plan a cooking session and help your child learn to cook a dish? This can be really great for children from the age of nine and upwards. For older teens it is so important that they learn to cook and understand the value of good nutrition. Enjoying a meal you prepared together is a lovely way to spend a few hours. Younger children might just enjoy making scones or fairy cakes; everyone can master something in the kitchen.
  3. Go for a walk near your home. There are lots of parks and, as we live in Ireland, plenty of fields. Children are learning all the time about nature so why not go and look at some in real life, as my young daughter would say. Bring a journal and note down what you see and what you find: leaves, birds, and insects, then Google what you found and make it into a great project.
  4. Simply just have a pyjama day. Play board games, computer games, watch old movies, play dolls and house or trial makeup. Watch your children play and engage with them. We are so busy all the time, running about and worrying. It is wonderful to have a day of connecting with your children.
  5. Invite some friends and their children over. We always intend on catching up with old friends but we are on-the-go all the time. So arrange a catch up on your day-off.
  6. Ask your child what they would like to do. We often plan so many things for our children that we think will be great and then we get annoyed when they don’t seem to value it. Often the simple pleasure of spending time with parents is more important to them.
  7. For parents sharing parenting, the weekend parent often gets a bad reputation for being the fun time parent as they have all weekend to entertain children. In my experience, they would much prefer to not feel this pressure and to do real parenting instead and keep the entertainment for special occasions.
  8. Parenting is about spending time with our children, getting to know them, having time to talk with them and time for them to talk with us. Making time and creating opportunities for talking is more possible when activities you introduce to them are simpler.
  9. In today’s world we need to help children understand that life is not about entertainment and being constantly on-the-go. It is about doing things that help us feel well and happy on the inside, that bring peace and balance to our lives and leave us ready for the next week. Many of the activities lead to moments of mindfulness where children learn to be happy in their own company in quiet ways.

This article is part of our weekly parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Parenting | Recognising and dealing with stress

people-1492052_1920Many parents would describe themselves as busy but do not recognise when they are stressed. Recently I have wondered if parents are more stressed than they realise. The logistics of keeping our children’s lives running smoothly is very stressful. Added stress can come with parenting alone or sharing parenting and being a working parenting can pile on even more stress. In these circumstances it would be impossible not to feel stressed.

In order to cope we often convince ourselves that we are just busy. Some of us can cope better with stress but others may hide it well. If you fail to address the issues causing you stress, problems can arise with your health, your relationships, your well-being, your friendships, your social life, or the most importantly of all, your relationship with our children.

Here are some tips to help us recognise and manage stress in today’s hectic world:

  1. Some leading psychologists such as Dr Tony Humphreys would believe that all illness makes sense. That every little illness from a sore eye to cancer is our body telling us something. If we ignore the early warning signs then illness can come as a way to make us stand up and notice. It usually stops us in our tracks and forces us to take time off. As parents we are very conscious of looking after our children’s health but what do we do when we are feeling unwell? We battle through it. It is important not to ignore even the most subtle symptoms and signals.
  2. Finding ways to take time out as a parent is very difficult especially when parenting alone. As a parent told me recently, the favours are all used up for childcare in order to go to work, so how do you get time off to just take a break? It is crucial to find ways to have time off even if this is one hour a week or an afternoon a month. Find support from other parents. All parents are feeling the same way. Use play dates to your advantage to get some space to yourself and when you do, do not clean the house. Sit down, relax, rest. The housework will always be there.
  3. Talking to someone is really helpful in managing stress. Talking with other parents can be really beneficial as you will find that they are experiencing similar stresses to you. Look in your community and see if there are any groups you can join. It doesn’t have to be parenting, it can be any group that allows you an opportunity to meet other adults and chat when the children aren’t around.
  4. Find time at home with your children to just relax. Children can be involved in so many activities after school and during the week, so take time to sit together as family. Watch a movie or play a game and just relax the old fashioned way. Children really enjoy having pyjama days with parents, just staying in, sitting on the sofa and talking with each other. So much good can come from a day like this. Why not have a pyjama day once a month?
  5. Treat yourself now and again. Finding ways to value what you need is really crucial to good self care. Poor self care can affect your confidence and once your confidence is affected your parenting will be affected. Be aware of how you are feeling. Check the emotional thermometer on a daily basis and respond to it. You deserve the same level of care as you give to your children. Let your children see that you deserve care and respect too.
  6. Ask yourself why you are doing so much. If your child is happy to spend more time with their other parent (and this is workable) explore this as an option. Can you accept or ask for more support? Maybe there are some practical things your child’s other parent can do to help out. If this is not an option, explore the lifestyle you have created for yourself and your child. Is it necessary to be so busy? Is there any way to cut some things out so you have more breathing space?
  7. If you feel you have reached a stage whereby you are worried you cannot cope any longer it is advisable to seek professional support. You can see a counsellor, a parent mentor or your GP for advice and support. You can also call One Family’s Helpline for support, askonefamily on 01 662 9212 or lo-call 1890 662212.

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

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports.

Join the One Family Parenting Group online here

Parenting | Talking to your daughter about her first period

girl-648121_1280Most women will remember when the subject of their period was first broached, usually by their mum or an older female relative. You may recall a fumbling two minute explanation that raised more questions than it answered or perhaps you were given a confident explanation and felt well informed and prepared afterwards. Chances are your ‘period chat’ fell somewhere in the middle. Dads won’t have these memories to draw upon but that doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage when talking to your daughter. The important thing to remember surrounding the subject of periods, and other issues around puberty, is that your daughter feels she can talk to you about it; you are acknowledging that she is maturing into a young woman. Here are some tips around talking to your daughter about getting her first period:

  1. The age at which girls have their first period can vary from 10-years-old to 15-years-old. Girls need to have this chat with parents early on in case they are an early developer. Most of the time, parents will notice that their daughters are developing so they are prompted to explain about periods. Don’t leave it too late, it is important to have the chat in advance of her first period.
  2. Girls who live with mum will have noticed that their mum has a period so the subject will not be a total surprise. Many girls will have spoken to their friends about periods and may have information from friends who have older sisters. It is important that they have the correct information and not just school-yard gossip.
  3. Make a date with your daughter and do something special with her. Talk to her about how much she is growing up and how responsible she is becoming.
  4. In school, many children will follow the Stay Safe Programme in which they talk about their bodies and what they are capable of. Many 10-year-olds know where babies come from so in order to explain periods you need to explain a little more about babies. Fertility is the key message when it comes to periods.
  5. Children like information and they like to know how and why their bodies work as they do. Books can be very useful.  Explain how women and girls creates eggs (ovulate) and what happens to these eggs each month. Don’t make it so complicated that your child will be horrified by the content. Keep it simple but precise and factual. Help your daughter to to see how fascinating it is.
  6. Take them to the shops and show them the different feminine hygiene/sanitary products available and purchase a packet for them to have for the first time. Encourage them to have sanitary products in their schoolbag for emergencies as you don’t know when the first time will be.
  7. Ensure that sanitary products are bought in the weekly groceries. Encourage them to talk openly about periods. Periods do not need to be a hidden part of life although they are private.
  8. Some girls might be horrified at the thought of menstruating and horrified by their period when it occurs. It can take a few years for girls to adjust and become independent around managing their period.
  9. Girls may need pain relief so support them with this but also encourage them to know that life goes on. Try not to allow them to have time off school or activities as this can create a lifelong pattern. Moods can change also so they will need support to manage their emotions.
  10. In common with other aspects of parenting it is about being brave and supporting your child. Whether you are a dad or a mum raising a young girl you should take on the responsibility of informing your daughter about her period. It will give you a special space in your daughter’s life where they know they can talk to you and trust you with their deepest worries and issues.

This ’10 Ways to’ 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 on 01 662 9212.

Join the One Family Parenting Group online here

 

Parenting | Supporting your children through shared parenting

divorce-156444_1280According to The United Nations Rights of the Child, it is the right of the child to have contact with both parents after parental separation; yet many parents see it as their right, as parents, to have contact with their child.

When it comes to contact with children, mums can hold the power from day one: they carry the baby for nine months so straight away they make the very first decisions about the baby. All too easily, fathers can take a back seat in parenting and when a separation occurs they can struggle to assert their position as an involved father. So many separated fathers, whom I work with, want to be hands-on fathers. Men are as capable as women but culturally we are often led to believe they are not.

It is not good for children to see two parents without equal status. If society doesn’t encourage fathers to play an active role in parenting then we are not allowing children the full opportunities they are entitled to: the right to both parents provided it is safe for the child.

We need to separate out poor partners from poor parents: it is a different relationship. Children only have two biological parents; allowing them every opportunity to have a relationship with both parents is important to the positive outcome of their lives. Here we offer ’10 ways’ to support your child through shared parenting:

  1. Explore what prevents you from allowing the other parent to have an active parenting role. Is this a genuine concern based upon facts or an opinion you have formed? Does your child feel safe and happy with the other parent? Try to follow their lead. Take small steps to try and build confidence in their ability.
  2. Start with small steps changes in contact. Talk with your child about what they would like to happen.
  3. Reassure your child that you trust that their other parent loves them and therefore you want both parents to be active in their life.
  4. Ask the other parent to do practical things to support parenting rather than only getting involved for the fun parts.
  5. Allow them to have opportunities to take children to and from school, to the doctor, the dentist and to after-school activities. Your child only has one life, it does not need to be separated into mum’s time and dad’s time.
  6. Share practical information with the other parent about your child’s development and everyday life. Know what stage your child is at. Don’t expect to be told everything, find things out for yourself, ask questions, read up on child development and talk to the school if you are a legal guardian.
  7. Pay your maintenance and don’t argue over the cost of raising a child. If you receive maintenance be realistic about what the other parent can afford. If you were parenting in the same home you would do everything you possibly could to ensure your child has what they need. It cannot be any different just because you parent separately.
  8. Buy what your child needs and not what you want to buy for your child. It is always lovely to treat children but not when it means they have no winter coat. Talk with the other parent about what the child has and what they need.
  9. Ask your family to respect your child’s other parent. They are, and always will be, the parent of your child. Children need to know that family respect their parents. It is not healthy for the extended family to hold prejudice over parents.
  10. If you are finding it really difficult to allow your child have a relationship with their other parent, seek professional support to explore the reasons for this. There is obviously a lot of hurt and I am not dismissing this in anyway but if you can move on you will allow your child to have positive experiences.

This ’10 Ways to’ 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 on 01 662 9212.

Join the One Family Parenting Group online here

 

Parenting | How might your child react to parental separation?

breakup-908714_1280Whatever the circumstances, parental separation is hard on families and big changes must be made. Keeping children at the centre of parenting and responding to their thoughts, feelings and questions, will help you to help them during this difficult time.

Research shows that children normally experience one or more of the following reactions to the separation of their parents:

  1. Children often get caught in the middle; loyalty to one parent can cause conflict.
  2. “Does mum or dad love someone else?”. Although mum or dad might not love each other anymore, it is important to reassure your child that you both continue to love him/her.
  3. “I don’t want to come over today”. As children get older their interests change. They may not want to visit a parent and may just want to spend more time with their friends.
  4. “Is it my fault?”. Children may feel they are responsible for the separation. They may dream up plans to get you and your ex-partner to reconcile.
  5. “Why don’t you love each other anymore?”. It is not uncommon for children to ponder this question. Often children will blame the parent who they believe initiated the separation and view the other parent as a victim.
  6. When a child makes threats such as “If you do not come home, I will never speak to you again”, the purpose of this is to make the parent feel guilty so that they will return home.
  7. Children between the ages of 8-16 years can experience intense anger. They can often be most angry with the parent they blame for separation, but they may express anger only towards the parent they view as the ‘safest’, usually the resident parent.
  8. “What should I tell my friends?”. If you want your child to share the situation with others, you must be able to do the same. Encourage your child to be honest about the situation.
  9. “Why are you separating?”. Children are more likely to ask this if they have not been given a clear explanation for the separation.
  10. The child may worry about the future. This is more likely to occur where there is parental conflict around contact and maintenance. As parents, you need to listen to your child’s worries and talk honestly and openly with them about their concerns.

One Family are looking for responses to the first ever National Shared Parenting Survey from parents who have separated and are sharing parenting. The data gathered will finally give a voice to parents and their children who are sharing parenting, which can inform appropriate policies and services in the future. Please take ten minutes to complete this anonymous survey. Take the survey here.

If you need support, information or advice, contact our lo-call askonefamily helpline on 1890 66 22 12.

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

 

Parenting | Supporting teens when their other parent leaves the country

girl-863686_1920Telling a teenager that their parent is moving away to another country is a big challenge. Explaining this to a teenage child is very hard for the parent who is living with them. In my experience, there are very few teenagers that cope well with one parent leaving and moving far away when they have been engaged in parenting, at some level, for a number of years.

How can you support your teenager to cope with such hurt, confusion and pain as this age? Here are ’10 ways’ to support yourself and your teenager during this time:

  1. Supporting your teen starts with looking after your own needs. You may feel very isolated and overwhelmed with the task of parenting alone. It may generate old feelings of hurt and grief from the separation. Whatever it raises for you needs to be dealt with. Explore your support networks. Talking about your feelings is important to support you to understand and explore what you need to do next. If you can’t get support from friends and family then it may be time to seek professional support through counselling or parent mentoring.
  2. When you have reflected on your own feelings you can then reflect on what your teen’s needs. You know your teen best. Every teen will respond differently to a parent moving away. Creating the space to talk with them about how they feel is crucial. We can presume we know a lot about our children but often we get small details wrong; it is the small details that make the big difference. Just like us, teenagers don’t  necessarily want someone to fix things but they do want someone to listen. Just hear what they are saying and acknowledge it. Thank them for telling you how they feel.
  3. Think about what their needs are, based on what they told you. What needs are left unmet as a result of their other parent moving away? What needs can you meet? It may seem very overwhelming, trying to meet all of these needs on your own. But again this is the time to look at what supports exist in your life, from family and friends to schools and clubs. You don’t have to do this alone. Let others in and allow them to offer support.
  4. Teenagers can feel great rejection and hurt that their parent has left. They can start to think that maybe the parent always wanted to leave. If conflict was an issue ongoing in the relationship they may feel it was the reason the parent left them. They will need reassurance that this is not the case.
  5. Keep talking and acknowledge how the change is difficult. Let them see what you are doing to try and cope with the change. It is okay to show how we, as parents, are feeling. Our children learn when they see how we cope. Coping mechanisms are what get us through life.
  6. Accept that some teens may blame you, the parent who is caring for them, and appear to worship the parent who has left, seeing no wrong in what they do. They may also wish that they could go and live with the other parent. This is normal.
  7. Although you are the key person in meeting their needs, your teen is also getting to a stage when they have to learn that they are also responsible for meeting their own needs. Help them explore what steps they can take to help themselves.
  8. Plan things together to support each other. Make dates with each other when you can share thoughts and feelings or simply spend some time together.
  9. Be patient and calm with your teen. Give them more hugs than ever. Just because they may be bigger than you don’t be fooled into thinking they don’t need a hug, they need them more than ever.
  10. Remember, you can move through this transition but you need to be there for each other. Acknowledge how you feel and acknowledge how your child feels even when you can do absolutely nothing to change it.

This ’10 Ways to’ 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 on 01 662 9212.

 

Parenting | Establishing family rituals

rope-1469244_1920A family ritual, or tradition, is a practice within a family that has special meaning to family members. Family rituals provide a sense of belonging and continuity. They bring families closer together. It is often hard in our day and age to escape the pressures and daily stresses that make up our lives but having rituals creates an opportunity for children to feel secure. Family routines and rituals not only improve family relationships, they also improve health and emotional well being, particularly for children.

As part of of our ‘10 Ways to‘ weekly series of parenting tips, here are some ideas to help you develop family rituals and traditions for your family.

  1. Think simple, not extravagant. An example of a simple and easy ritual is to eat together at least once every week.
  2. Set aside time each week. Create a time where you and your children can be together to play.
  3. Create your own special activity. For weekends, birthdays or celebrations, decide with the family how you really enjoy celebrating these occasions and go with that.
  4. Include your children in the planning.
  5. Create rituals that are meaningful to the whole family.
  6. Be different. Don’t be afraid to start a new or different kind of family tradition.
  7. Celebrate success. Acknowledge achievement within the family.
  8. Don’t be a perfectionist. There’s no need to stress if it does not work out exactly the way you envisaged and planned.  Things go wrong sometimes. A sense of bonding between the members involved is still created.
  9. Create a Family Event Jar. A family jar or box is a decorated jar used to save for the next big adventure. Decorate it with pictures and words of places you want to visit or have visited, or activities you enjoy. The jar becomes a daily visual reminder for all family members of something to look forward to.
  10. Rituals and traditions are something for all family member to enjoy together. Don’t fight your natural inclinations. You probably won’t stick with a tradition that isn’t working for all members of the family.

This ’10 Ways to’ 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 on 01 662 9212.

 

Parenting | Father’s Day

man-863085_1280Many children will be looking forward to some special time with Dads, Stepdads and Granddads on Father’s Day, though it is also a day that can bring challenges. In One Family, children are at the centre of our work and we support parents to help children to have contact with both parents where possible, unless it is not safe for a child. It can, of course, often be challenging for separated parents to develop good communication in order to implement a shared parenting plan, but the positive outcomes for children are very much worth the effort that parents put in.

Successfully sharing parenting can seem difficult, especially if parents are experiencing hurt or anger. When two parents can be there for their child, we ask parents to allow each other the opportunity to parent. Children need so much love and time; they can never have too much. There is room in your child’s life for both of you. Developing a shared parenting plan may be challenging, but when you do figure it out and see how your child flourishes, you will know it is worth the effort.

For Dads parenting alone, there may not be anyone to help your child make a card or shop for a little gift. Or even to acknowledge the day at all. Why not acknowledge it for yourself? Own it for you. You don’t need someone else to tell you how great a parent you are. You do everything from braiding hair, to playing football, to helping with homework, to planning your family’s weekly meals. Acknowledge, embrace and celebrate your achievements, even through the tough times. Allow yourself a Father’s Day treat, and plan to celebrate the day with your child.

If your child’s Father has chosen not to be present in their life, or is otherwise absent, you may worry that your child is excluded from the celebrations. Or that your child may feel a little sad, and so might you. Acknowledge this for them; it is okay to feel this way. Maybe it is a day you can talk about it together with your child. Share memories, and talk with them about all the wonderful people that are in their life. Ask them what they would like to do if Dad was there, and then plan something fun to do together with your child on the day.

This year, whatever your circumstances, perhaps you can plan a day out with your child on Father’s Day? Plan for quality time together. Plan a picnic, pitch a tent in the garden, have a barbeque. Invite some friends over and have your own soccer tournament. Children just love being busy and having fun, it doesn’t have to cost much. Make some plans today to have fun and create memories, and if it is not possible to celebrate with your child this Father’s Day, perhaps you can plan to share it on a different day in the future.

Whatever you do this Father’s Day, it is a day that is about children. On Father’s Day, we encourage thought about what your child needs from you. What can you do now to support your child through life, whether this means being physically present in your child’s life on a regular basis, consideration of the financial support a child requires to help them to have what they need to grow, develop and succeed in life, or working to develop a shared parenting plan.

Father’s Day is about valuing children’s presence in our society, and looking at what we can offer them. So Dads, Mums, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Stepparents, Guardians, Friends – everyone is important in a child’s life and we all can help them to grow, to feel loved, and to know they are valued.

This  article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Next you may wish to read:

https://onefamily.ie/training/10-ways-to-successful-shared-parenting/

https://onefamily.ie/training/10-ways-to-explain-an-absent-parent/

https://onefamily.ie/training/10-ways-to-positively-maintain-contact/

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 on 01 662 9212.