Are you parenting teenagers? Let us support you.

When our babies are born we recognise the value of support – whether it is from family, from Parent & Toddler groups, Breastfeeding support groups or the Lifestart Parenting programme. It is good to know that support is available for us when our babies grow up and we find ourselves parenting teenagers with all the joys and the challenges that brings. Here are details of some of the programmes available in Donegal.

Parents Plus Adolescents Programme

This is an evidence-based parenting course promoting effective communication and positive relationships in families with adolescents aged 11 to 16 years.  The Programme considers how parents can connect with and build good relationships with their teenage children, while also being firm and influential in their lives. Topics covered in the programme include : Getting to know and connecting with your teenager, Communicating positively and effectively, Building your teenager’s self-esteem and confidence, Negotiating rules and boundaries, Teaching teenagers responsibility, Positive discipline for teenagers, Managing conflict and Solving problems together. The Programme is run over six to eight weeks for 2 hour sessions per week. These free programmes are advertised on the Parenthub Website and Facebook page. Contact the Parent Hub Coordinator on 087 173 6667 for more information.

Common Sense Parenting

Common Sense Parenting (CSP) is a practical, skill-based parenting programme that can be applied to every family. The easy-to-learn techniques address issues of communication, discipline, decision making, relationships, self-control and school success.  It provides parents with a menu of proven techniques that will aid them in building good family relationships, preventing and correcting misbehaviour, using consequences to improve behaviour, teaching self-control, and staying calm plan. CSP is a two hour, six week programme.  If you would like more information contact Susan McLoughlin in Foróige 086 6064291

Strengthening Families

Families Matter are involved in delivering the Strengthening Families Programme (SFP). The programme is an evidence-based family skills programme. SFP is a family based programme for the ‘whole family’. It is available for families with children aged 6-12 years old and teens aged 12-16 year olds. Families attending the programme gain improved family relationships, enhanced parenting and communication skills and skills to manage stress, anger and peer pressure. It has been found that by improving parenting protective factors and family relationships and resilience it will lead to reducing problem behaviour, improve school performance and reduce criminal behaviour and alcohol and drug use in young people.

The programme comprises of three life skills courses taught together over a 14 week period. The three life skills courses include Parent Skills, Child / Teen Skills and Family Skills. Each weekly session lasts 2 ½ hours and the family attend as a whole.  To help reduce barriers for families to attend the programme SFP provides transport, childcare and evening meal as part of the overall programme.

The programme is facilitated by SFP trained professionals across a range of agencies / organisations in Donegal. Families can be referred on the programmes by a trained professional or a participating agency.

For more information go to:

Teen Parent Support Programme

 The Teen Parents Support Programme is a support service for young people (aged up to 21 years) who are pregnant or parenting. The service is open to the young mums & dads and also the grandparents.

The support that is provided will depend on the individual needs of the young mum, young dad or the grandparent.

Some of the types of support provided include:

  • Assistance to remain in or return to education/training
  • A safe place to talk about how your pregnancy is affecting you and your relationships with those around you – such as the other parent of your child and your own parents
  • Support with antenatal care and classes
  • Parenting programmes to suits the needs of young parents
  • Opportunity to meet other young parents through various group work programmes and activities.
  • Support and information for grandparents.
  • Information on parental rights and welfare entitlements.
  • Support to adjust to your new roles and responsibilities as a young parent.

Contact Details: Project Worker Michelle Maguire 086 8186345 / or Project Worker Jacqueline Doherty – 086 8371335 /

 There is also support available for parents through the Donegal Youth Information Centre

Donegal Youth Service operates Donegal’s only Youth Information Centre, which actively supplies information relevant to all aspects of young people’s lives. It offers a one stop shop approach where all information is available under one roof. This also involves supporting parents with information on issues that their children are experiencing.  This service provides information and guidance on job and accommodation seeking, applying for student grants, studying and working abroad, their rights and entitlements, discover training and 3rd level opportunities, and a safe, supervised space to spend time in during the day.  They also provide information seminars, workshops, and training (including intercultural awareness training).  For more information on how the Youth Information Centre, DYS can help your family contact: Gareth Gibson, Youth Information Manager on 074 91 29630

Useful Links


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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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