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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Safer Internet Day takes place next Tuesday, 7th February 2023. Sadly more than 1 in 4 young people in Ireland have experienced cyberbullying, yet only 60% of victims tell their parents. As teenagers and children spend more time on the internet, ensuring it's a safe space is ever more important. To encourage conversation about life online and help parents keep their children safe, I'd like to share a free resource created by It's a comprehensive guide which includes things like:
  • How to reduce the risks online
  • How to recognise cyber bullying and grooming
  • How to educate children on cyber safety
  • How to set up parental controls on devices
I thought it may be useful to share the link to the guide - - which you can include on your website ahead of Safer Internet Day, to help parents and children who may need some extra support. We've also put together some handy top tips you can use on your website: 10 tips to keep your children safe online
  1. Talk about it:Make time to chat about online risks and how to use the internet safelyas soon as they're old enough to go online. Encourage your children to speak to you about what they view online and empower them to act if they're worried about anything.
  2. Recognise the risks: Educate yourself about the potential dangers children could face online so  it’s easier to spot warning signs. Get to know what platforms your children use, and learn about dangers such as phishing, grooming and cyberbullying.
  3. Teach the do's and don'ts: Be clear about the non-negotiables.  For example, teach your child not to share personal details or photos with strangers and instruct them not to click on links to unknown websites or texts. Do encourage your child to question what they see and only accept friend requests from people they know.
  4. Spot the signs: Pay attention to your children's behaviour whilst on and off their devices. Being alert to changes in your child can help prevent problems from escalating. Some warning signs are withdrawing from friends or family, sleeping and eating problems or losing interest in previously loved hobbies or interests.
  5. Set boundaries:Let your children know what they can and can't do on the internet from the get-go. Agree on what devices they can use, when, and how long they can spend online. As they get older, explaining and negotiating boundaries may be more effective.
  6. Take 'parental' control: These ready-made boundaries put parents in control of what children can see online. They can be set up through your internet provider at device level to block specific websites and filter out inappropriate content.
  7. Be social media savvy:  The popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat makes it harder to keep track of what your child is accessing online.  Fortunately, each social media platform has its own privacy settings and safety tips for parents. Check them out before you let children have their own accounts.
  8. Protect from harm:Install antivirus software on family devices to minimise the risk of cyber attacks or scams. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for extra security on your online accounts. This can also stop children from signing into services they're not allowed to use.
  9. Set a great example:  You're the greatest 'influencer' in your children's lives when they're young.  Limiting your time online, discussing dangers you've come across, and questioning what you view can help reinforce the rules you are setting for your children and, in turn, influence their online behaviour.
  10. Seek support:The more you learn about online dangers, the better equipped you'll be to handle them. There are some great resources like  webwise.ieinternetmatters.organd to help you recognise and reduce online dangers and seek advice if you think your child is experiencing cyberbullying or is at risk online.
        Short videos on the Importance of Play have recently launched which was a collaboration between North Central CFSN and Lifestart Services.   Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4 Volume 5 Volume 6

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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