In March we asked parents across Northern Ireland, England and Wales for their thoughts on the long-term impact of school closures on family life and their child’s education.

Parents in Northern Ireland were more concerned about the impact of school closures on their child’s education in comparison to parents in England and Wales (7.6 vs 6.8 and 6.4) but across the nations, parents were equally very worried about how they would juggle home-working and supporting their children’s education. Parents told us they were concerned for their own mental health, fearing how they would manage everything.

This week Parentkind in Northern Ireland took some of the concerns parents raised to our expert panel: Bronagh Starrs, Adolescent Psychotherapist and Nichola Greene, Service Manager at Parentline NI.

Below you’ll find a summary of the questions asked, which included topics such as how to promote positive wellbeing in children, juggling working while supporting learning at home, and managing teenagers.

Watch the video
Our Expert Panel

Bronagh Starrs is Founder & Director of Blackfort Adolescent Gestalt Institute and Programme Director for the MSc Adolescent Psychotherapy in Dublin Counselling & Therapy Centre in partnership with University of Northampton. She maintains a private practice in Omagh, Northern Ireland, as a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, writer and trainer, specialising in working with adolescents. Bronagh is an adolescent development specialist and has considerable experience teaching and presenting throughout Ireland and internationally on the developmental implication of trauma on the adolescent journey. Her book Adolescent Psychotherapy — A Radical Relational Approach (Routledge, London) has received international acclaim.

Nichola Greene is Service Manager of Parentline NI. Parentline NI is a free and confidential helpline offered throughout the province to all parents/​carers or anyone in a parenting role. At Parentline NI we support the role of parenting by providing support, advice and guidance on any parenting issue. Tel: 0808 80 20 400

The questions asked (and when they are answered in the video)
  1. What can I do as a parent to promote positive wellbeing in my children in the absence of no direct play and interaction time with their friends?
    Answered by Bronagh and Nichola 1.38 – 3.31
  2. I am worried sick about my parents, for my children, my other half who is going out to work as a frontline worker, how can I manage my own wellbeing so it will not directly impact negatively and cause additional worry for the children?
    Answered by Nichola and Bronagh 3.35 – 8.00
  3. Teenagers – I am struggling to cope with teenage tantrums and find I am letting them on screens more as that is the easiest thing to do. How do I manage teens and screens?
    Answered by Bronagh and Nichola 8.00 – 12.14
  4. I have 3 children and one has SEN. Managing and implementing a routine and providing the support to each is really difficult, any tips and guidance on how I could do this better please?
    Answered by Nichola 12.15 – 15.15
  5. I am out of my depth trying to support children’s learning. The school has sent home a load of packs, I have two children, one gets stuck in and the other says they need help but I don’t know how to help. I am pulling my hair out.
    Answered by Bronagh and Nichola 15.15 – 19.20
  6. Will be assessed by the teachers by the standard of work when my children return?
    Answered by Nichola 19.22–21.50
  7. Parent: I am struggling, the children are running rings around me as I try to work from home and try to get them to do their work. When the other parent arrives in, I am screaming like a banshee and the children start behaving like angels in front of them. I am worried I am going to end up feeling like a useless partner, parent and employee.
    Answered by Bronagh and Nichola 21.51–28.15
  8. I am worried about my wee ones having separation anxiety when they do get to return to school, I find them getting clingier by the day. What can I do to prevent this from happening?
    Answered by Nichola 28.26 – 31.40
  9. How can I manage my own grief after losing someone with C‑19, not being able to mourn their passing in the traditional sense that here in NI we are very attached to and take comfort from. Plus, how can I explain this to our children
    Answered by Bronagh 31.40–37.00