My daughter is 15 and pregnant

Your Question

My daughter has been hiding her pregnancy and is 15 and he 18. What is the law 

Answer

Hi there, 

Many thanks for getting in touch with Ask Robyn. It is positive to hear that you are reaching out to find guidance around the law to support your daughter. Pregnancy as a teenager can be overwhelming and stressful, for the parents of the person who is pregnant as well as for the pregnant person themselves. It is important to reach out for support through this process as it may raise a lot of uncertainty around supports available. 

Our Childline Ask Alex page has received similar questions regarding the law and age of consent, you may wish to explore some of these answers here: https://www.childline.ie/?s=consent . In relation to your question, Childline provided the following answer that may be of relevance: “In Ireland, a person must be 17 years of age to consent to engaging in any sexual act. This means the law states that any young person under the age of 17 is not legally old enough to consent to any sexual act, even when they want to. It is also important to remember that engaging in a sexual act without consent or with someone who cannot consent, is a crime.  The age of consent applies to everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.  

In cases where both young people are under the age of 17, the law recognises that people under 17 do sometimes engage in sexual activity with each other, and this meant that the law introduced a ‘proximity of age’ defence or the ‘Romeo and Juliet Defence’. This means that if a young person is accused of a sexual act with someone who is 15 or 16, they can put forward a defence, but only if all these conditions apply. 

  • The person is younger or not more than two years older than the child.  
  • Consent was given freely and voluntarily. 
  • Neither person felt exploited or intimidated 
  • Neither person is in a position of authority, for example, a teacher or doctor.  

The ‘Romeo and Juliet Defence’ may be open to an 18-year-old and their partner of 16, but only if ALL of the above is met, and it may be up to a court of law to decide whether or not to bring formal charges against the older person.” 

Both you and your daughter may wish to explore other supports. Spunout have a helpful article around pregnancy supports for teens: https://spunout.ie/life/your-rights/supports-for-pregnant-young-people-ireland/ There are further supports available both for parents and grandparents such as Teen Parents Support Programme: https://www.tpsp.ie/

If you or your daughter ever feel overwhelmed or unsure about how to proceed, do not hesitate to seek advice from professionals or support groups. You may wish to speak about this further and you can contact us by phone from Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm on 01 5224300 or by email to [email protected]

Take care, 

Robyn 

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My two sons are constantly fighting

Your Question

My two sons are constantly fighting. I’m so worried that someone is going to get really hurt one of these days.. I’m open to trying anything to make them get along!

Answer

Hi there,

Welcome to ask Robyn and thank you so much for getting in touch. This is an area that often causes a lot of stress for parents. We all want to see our children happy and playing nicely with each other, but a lot of the time this is not the case. We understand your feelings in this area, and it is hard not to worry that someone will get hurt.

It is important that you are able to model a sense of calm when you try to intervene in these fights or when you try to discuss this area. It is good to let your children know that you are worried that one of them might get hurt, because you love them, and you don’t want to see anyone hurt. It may help to notice if there is a pattern in what causes the fights, is it a certain time of day or day of the week, is it over a certain toy/game, is it in certain rooms or places? You can try to see how you can adapt their days or environments to prevent some of these.

Give them the opportunity to help come up with suggestions to what might help reduce the fighting or prevent it escalating. You can ask questions such as, what do you think you could do instead of hitting each other? They may need to move to release some feelings of frustration so encourage them to start recognising those feelings as they come up; do they feel that in their hands or legs, maybe some jumping jacks could help instead?

It’s important to not try to reason with them when they are heightened, stressed or angry. Help them to calm down first, validate both their feelings e.g. “I know you’re angry that he took X from you” or “I can see you’re upset that he didn’t wait.” It may take some time until they are completely calm, and then you can start a reflective conversation with them, it’s important to include them both in this process. This conversation could include statements and questions such as “I could see you were both angry, and I was worried someone was going to get hurt. What would help next time so we can make sure no one gets hurt?” “Would it help to walk away?” “Would it help to come talk to me or…” It may be an idea to introduce a calming corner into the home. This could be a space with a few cushions where they could go to rest if they feel themselves getting frustrated. You can find more information about what that might look like here: www.actionforhealthykids.org/activity/calm-down-corner/

We hope you have found some of this helpful and we would love to hear from you if you would like to talk more about this, you can contact ISPCC’s Support Line which can be contacted by email to [email protected] or by phone from Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm on 01 522 4300 

Take care,  

Robyn 

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Anxiety levels are rising among exam students and their parents, but ISPCC can help with free webinars

student study

It’s that time of year again… the spectre of the dreaded exams is looming for students and their parents, but ISPCC can help.

Students aren’t the only ones who need support in the run up to exam time, parents do too.

After all, how can you help your anxious child when you’re feeling anxious yourself? It’s only natural for stresses build up as the exams draw closer and it’s a pressurised time for everyone at home.

A parent or carer can’t help their child if they feel ill-equipped to do so and it can be easy for them to feel as if they have failed their child when they see them suffering from anxiety.

ISPCC is offering two free webinars on coping with exam anxiety – the first is specifically for parents and carers, while the second will focus on young people along with their parents and carers.

The two-part series will focus on explaining what anxiety actually is and how it manifests itself, support for dealing with an anxious child, anxiety management tips and tools and Childline’s Digital Mental Health and Wellbeing programmes, which provide free ongoing support for both young people and their parents.

The first webinar for parents and carers takes place on Monday, May 13, from 7pm to 8pm. The second, which is aimed at young people aged 12 years and over as well as their parents and carers, is on Tuesday, May 14, from 7pm to 7.30pm.

They will be hosted by ISPCC parenting lead Siobhan Harvey and Niamh Clarke, Manager of ISPCC Smart Moves programme, while Bree O’Neill who manages Childline’s Digital Mental Health and Wellbeing programmes will be the keynote speaker.

For more information on the webinar for parents and carers, please click here

To find out more about the webinar aimed at young people, please click here

Anxiety levels are rising among exam students and their parents, but ISPCC can help with free webinars

student study
student study

It’s that time of year again… the spectre of the dreaded exams is looming for students and their parents, but ISPCC can help.

Students aren’t the only ones who need support in the run up to exam time, parents do too.

After all, how can you help your anxious child when you’re feeling anxious yourself? It’s only natural for stresses build up as the exams draw closer and it’s a pressurised time for everyone at home.

A parent or carer can’t help their child if they feel ill-equipped to do so and it can be easy for them to feel as if they have failed their child when they see them suffering from anxiety.

ISPCC is offering two free webinars on coping with exam anxiety – the first is specifically for parents and carers, while the second will focus on young people along with their parents and carers.

The two-part series will focus on explaining what anxiety actually is and how it manifests itself, support for dealing with an anxious child, anxiety management tips and tools and Childline’s Digital Mental Health and Wellbeing programmes, which provide free ongoing support for both young people and their parents.

* The first webinar for parents and carers takes place on Monday, May 13, from 7pm to 8pm.

* The second, which is aimed at young people aged 12 years and over as well as their parents and carers, is on Tuesday, May 14, from 7pm to 7.30pm.

They will be hosted by ISPCC parenting lead Siobhan Harvey and Niamh Clarke, Manager of ISPCC Smart Moves programme, while Bree O’Neill who manages Childline’s Digital Mental Health and Wellbeing programmes will be the keynote speaker.

For more information on the webinar for parents and carers, please go to https://bit.ly/44riFL1 

To find out more about the webinar aimed at young people, please go to https://bit.ly/3wqPVFt

Make time for breakfast… rise and shine with Childline by ISPCC this May

Childline calls on the people of Ireland to take time for breakfast and help raise vital funds for Ireland’s only 24hr listening service for children and young people

Rise and shine for Childline: Sydney, Brogan and Reggie Power tuck into a tasty breakfast, kindly sponsored by McCambridge’s Bread

We’ve all seen the ads of happy families laughing and chatting over a leisurely breakfast. So far, so unrealistic. In reality, it can be far from the morning routine in most homes across Ireland. But wouldn’t it be nice to carve out a little time at the start of day to have a family chat over your tea and toast without feeling under pressure?

This May, Childline by ISPCC is calling on families, schools, clubs and workplaces throughout the country to take time for breakfast – to sit, listen and enjoy each other’s company while hosting their own breakfast to support Ireland’s only 24/7 listening service for children and teenagers nationwide. 

In recent weeks Childline has seen a dramatic rise in demand for all its services. Since February alone, 145 children have reached out to talk to Childline staff and volunteers about self-harm, and 65 of those are repeat contacts who have then asked for help with suicide ideation.

Children and young people tell ISPCC their concerns through its 24/7 Childline listening service, through its therapeutic services and through its Shield Anti-Bullying programme. 

The benefits of breakfast go far beyond simple nutrition. Eating breakfast together provides a great opportunity to check if your children are anxious or worried about anything about the coming day.

When you sign up to host your own Rise and Shine Breakfast, you will receive your own digital pack that includes conversation starter cards designed by our in-house therapeutic experts at Childline that will help you to encourage check-ins with the children and young people in your life.

Research shows that eating family meals together has been linked to children’s overall wellbeing, improved nutrition and protection against eating disorders. It’s also associated with more physical activity and less screen time.

Childline relies on the generosity of the public to raise 65% of its funding to ensure that there is always someone to listen when a child needs to talk. And you can help Childline to continue to be there 24/7 with your own breakfast gathering. 

To find out more, go to https://childlinebreakfast.com/
So go on, this May rise and shine for Childline!