Minister Hanafin Launches New Online Parenting Course Resource

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25th May, Dublin. A new online database detailing over 60 Parenting Courses around the country was launched today by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin T.D. The new service is available on the Barnardos website and is funded by the Family Support Agency.

The new easy to use online resource shows parents details of courses relevant to their own children and family situation in various locations around the country.

Launching the online service, Minister Mary Hanafin said, “The development of this valuable resource will be very welcome for parents and professionals who are looking to support families. Bringing up a child is the most rewarding but responsible role that any parent can undertake, and difficult times can place families in stressful situations. Having support available locally to help parents understand their child’s development as well as the difficult stages which young people can encounter in modern society is vitally important. The Government through the Family Support Agency continues to provide funding for family services such as this new database. Barnardos has been to the forefront of supporting families and parents for many years and I am delighted to formally launch this new resource being hosted on their website.” 

A recent study by Barnardos Carlow Family Support Project entitled The Support Needs of Parents in Responding to their Children’s Behaviour found that 72% of parents feel that parenting in modern society is stressful while 35% expressed concern about some of their children’s behaviour. The primary concerns reported by parents in relation to their teenage children were about the societal influences of peer pressure and media and particularly the influence of drugs and alcohol abuse.

Speaking about the benefits of parenting courses, Chief Executive of the Family Support Agency, Pat Bennett said, “All parents can benefit from parenting programmes, regardless of experience or background. Many parents, and first time parents in particular, may be unsure of typical issues that arise at different stages in a child’s development. Parenting programmes can help parents learn key skills which can be used with all age groups.”

“It can also be very beneficial for parents to hear from other parents about the personal day to day challenges they encounter with child rearing. Sharing these experiences puts into context their own child’s behaviours and more often than not, parents realise they are not alone. For these reasons the Family Support Agency is delighted to collaborate with Barnardos in providing this essential parenting support.” he continued.

Anne Conroy, National Manager, Barnardos' Training and Resource Service detailed the type of skills a parent could expect to learn at one of the many course listed on “These courses can help parents learn how to relate to their toddler, young child or teen, thereby helping them to have a closer relationship with their children. Programmes often cover areas such as understanding the value of spending a little time playing or having special time with their child and how to divide time between children. Parents will learn how the relationship improves through words of encouragement rather than nagging or criticising.”

Ms. Conroy continued, “Programmes may also cover various communication styles and how to set boundaries. Parents may begin to identify behaviours which are best ignored and how to set limits on serious behaviours- the ones relating to health and safety, education and respect. Overall they can expect to move towards having a calmer home, with children who are easier to get along with.”

Barnardos and the Family Support Agency have published a range of books to help and support parents under the title Parenting Positively. A further range of parenting books is also available in the Barnardos library. Please log onto to order copies or contact 01 4549699 for more information.


Editor’s Note:

Facilitators of parenting programmes who would like to add their course and contact details to the database can email and Barnardos will send them a questionnaire and consent form.

Barnardos supports children whose well-being is under threat, by working with them, their families and communities and by campaigning for the rights of children. Barnardos was established in Ireland in 1962 and is Ireland’s leading independent children’s charity

The Family Support Agency, funded by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, provides support to families through locally based Family Resource Centres, through supporting organisations providing Marriage, Relationship, Child and Bereavement Counselling Services and by directly providing Family Mediation through its 16 family mediation centres to couples going through a separation or divorce. It carries out research, provides information and advises the Minister for Social and Family Affairs on family related matters. The Family Support Agency was established as a statutory agency in 2003.

Last modified:25/05/2009