Teenage kicks

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THERE has been a 17% increase in parents from the Northern Health Trust area calling a helpline due to aggression and violence from their teenage children.

The figures just released from Parenting NI for 2011/2012 show this dramatic increase of parents calling their helpline.

Parenting NI has outreach facilities in Coleraine, offering parents one-on-one support.

Charlene Brooks, Director for Parents Helpline, a project within Parenting NI, is concerned about the dramatic rise in teenage aggression from parents in the local area.

“The dramatic rise in parents calling the helpline because their teenage children are aggressive or violent towards them, is a worrying trend,” she said.

“Parents call the Parents Helpline for a variety of reasons - they are often worried about their child’s behaviour or family tensions, but recognise the importance of taking steps to get help for the situation.

“Through our Parenting Education Programmes we have also experienced an increase in parents telling us about ‘behavioural issues’ they are experiencing at home and many will eventually disclose that their teenage child is violent towards them. Understandably many parents are ashamed to admit that their child is aggressive or violent towards them and parents often don’t know where to turn for support.”

The overall picture for Northern Ireland shows an increase of 27% of parents calling the Parents Helpline about teenage aggression. Parenting NI research shows that the problem is more prevalent amongst teenage boys, with two thirds of calls to the Parents Helpline about aggression being from parents concerned about their teenage sons.

Research from 2009 on teenage aggression suggests that 18% of two parent families and 29% of one parent families experience teenage aggression or violence towards parents.

Parenting NI offers support to parents through the Parents Helpline (0800 8010 722), by appointment at 11 outreach sites across Northern Ireland and through Parenting Education Programmes (for details visit www.parentingni.org).