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More parents calling help line in the past year

Abuse and “out of control” teenagers are two of the more prevalent issues for parents using the phone service.

File photo of child model throwing a tantrum.
File photo of child model throwing a tantrum.
Image: Assunta Del Buono/John Birdsall/Press Association Images

MORE PARENTS HAVE used the confidential phone service Parentline in the past 12 months that in 2010, new figures have revealed.

In the last year, more than 4,000 families were supported by the service.

Abuse and fall-out from family breakdown are among the chief issues causing most concern to parents, an analysis of the calls revealed.

About 11 per cent of total calls to Parentline are in relation to abuse while more than one fifth are in connection to what are defined as “teenage issues” – anger, aggression, discipline and staying out late.

Some 8 per cent of callers described their teenagers as “out of control”.

Rita O’Reilly, chief executive of Parentline said the new figures show a clear need for support services for mothers and fathers who are facing increased pressures, particularly due to the recession and financial crisis.

More women than men use the service as 82 per cent of callers are mothers.

“The figures show that in most cases it is mothers who are the ones who reach out to seek help. Fathers are slower to come forward and we would encourage them to call too,” said O’Reilly.

Of the calls received, 7 per cent concerned addictions issues with 3 per cent of  reporting their children had alcohol problems. Another 3 per cent said they were worried about their children’s use of drugs.

Marriage and relationship problems also emerged as a factor causing concern. About 2 per cent of calls to the service were from parents worried over child access issues.

Mental health also proved a worry with 3 per cent of callers saying they suffered from depression and 6 per cent from stress.

The survey has been published ahead of Parent’s Week which begins today and runs until October 23rd.

Parentline is 30 years old and O’Reilly says it allows parents to offload stress.

She said if parents make an effort to relieve their own stress, this will in turn reduce stress in a household allowing for a happier environment all around.

Parentline can be contacted on 1890 927 277.

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