Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Number of admissions to hospital of girls under 18 after self-harming has nearly doubled: The Guardian reports that figures provided in response to a written question in the House of Lords, answered by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health Lord O’Shaughnessy, show that the number of admissions to hospital of girls under the age of 18 in England after self-harming has nearly doubled compared with 20 years ago. NHS Digital figures show that: there were 13,463 admissions of girls under the age of 18 in 2016/17 against 7,327 in 1997/98; the figure for admissions of boys who self-harmed rose from 2,236 in 1997/98 to 2,332 in 2016/17.

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuseThe University of Suffolk and the charity Survivors in Transition have published research looking at the impact of delayed disclosure and access to services and support for those who experienced sexual abuse in their childhood. Findings from in-depth interviews with 28 adult survivors of child sexual abuse show that: the average time span from the start of abuse to disclosure was over 27.5 years; survivors reported that delayed disclosure resulted in complex issues related to the experience of abuse, which had a detrimental impact on their mental health; and poor experiences of disclosure had acted as barriers to future support services.

Perinatal mental health services are patchyThe Guardian reports that an unpublished report, commissioned by Health Education England, has found that in many areas of England specialist perinatal mental health services are patchy or non-existent.

Answering parents commonly asked online safety questionsChildnet has written a blog answering some of the questions parents and carers most frequently ask about online safety. Topic covered include: teenagers spending too much time online; under 13s joining social networking sites; and playing games that have an older age rating.

Viewing child abuse imagesThe Telegraph reports that the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland, has said that sex offenders who download or share images of child abuse should be dealt with by the court as harshly as those who abuse children themselves. The article also reports that the government is planning to bring child pornography offences under the “unduly lenient sentence” scheme, which enables sentences to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal.


FREE online course to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children

SelfharmUK and the Virtual College have worked in partnership to create a free online course designed to help parents talk about the issue of self-harm with their children.

Thousands of children and young people in the UK are thought to be impacted by self-harm each year. Spotting the signs can be difficult, and approaching the subject with your children can be an uncomfortable experience.

‘Talking to your children about emotional resilience and self-harm’, has been designed to provide parents with a basic awareness of the subject to help them approach their children with confidence about the issue.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you to:

  • Know what self-harm is and why young people may do it
  • Know what makes young people vulnerable to self-harming behaviour
  • Understand in what ways you can support a young person is who self-harming

Register for the training here

Children’s & youth work links

Links from around the world of children’s and youth work:

What happened when 9 teens gave up their mobile phones for a week: anyone who has worked with teenagers for more than 5 minutes know how connected to their mobiles they are.  So what happens if they were separated from their mobile lifelines for a full week?

The Smart Talk is a website that helps parents and kids come up with a set of mobile phone rules together, and creates a handy agreement you can print out.  This tool is more than a simple checklist; it’s meant to start conversations between parents and their child.

What I Teach My Students About Alcohol: Austin McCann shares what he taught his young people about drinking alcohol from the Bible.

Teens Tell All: Your Guide To Teen Slang, From Bae To Woke: As part of TODAY’s “Teens Tell All” series, they asked teenagers to enlighten adults about all those mysterious terms they throw out when they talk or message.

Jesus was a Youth Minister: Jesus’ disciples were mainly young men.  This makes Peter the perfect, Biblical example of what it looks like to mentor a teenager!


Living with a teenage stranger

Living with a teenage stranger

If you aren’t a parent of teenagers but work with teenagers take 5 minutes to read this column on living with a teenage stranger to understand the challenges parents face:

I am mother to a teenager – a role I was naively looking forward to because it was never going to be too hard. After all I know my child; she won’t turn into someone who is uncommunicative and secretive.

Hahahahahahaha – I laugh at myself now.

At times, living with a teenager is like starting all over again with a stranger, not someone I have seen almost every day since she was born.

On rare days, she talks, she interacts, she discusses, she is warm and she wants to be in our company and she is bloody lovely.

On other days it is like living with someone who chucks verbal abuse out day and night. In a look, I can be crushed. And the first time she uttered the words “I fucking hate you”, I swear I felt my heart shatter. If anyone else spoke to me like that I would be moving out.

But I’m getting stronger. I am adjusting to life with a hormonal young woman who is trying to figure out herself, people and the world.

Ofcom’s Children’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015

Ofcom’s Children’s Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015

The 10th Ofcom report on ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report‘ has just been published.

This report examines children’s media literacy. It provides detailed evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as detailed information about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4.

The report also includes findings relating to parents’ views about their children’s media use, and the ways that parents seek – or decide not – to monitor or limit use of different types of media.

Summary of key themes

This year’s report shows that:

  • In 2005 levels of take-up of key media among children were higher than we might recollect, and not dissimilar to those of today. However, the experience of using these devices has been transformed, leading to a much richer and more expansive online experience than was the case in 2005.
  • Over the last few years, tablets are increasingly being used as a default entertainment screen, particularly among younger children. This is set alongside a small but important decrease in the numbers watching TV via a TV set.
  • The content children are consuming is increasingly curated by digital intermediaries, including providers like YouTube and Google. As well as attractive sources of content, rivalling traditional broadcasters, they are also seen by some children as legitimating brands, helping to vouchsafe the veracity or trustworthiness of content accessed through their sites.
  • The move towards smaller screens makes supervision more difficult for parents, and the proliferation of devices increases the need for parents to keep up to date with technology. For example, while over half of parents use any of the technical tools we ask about to manage their children’s online access and use, and around a quarter use ISP network-level filters, less than one in five parents whose child uses a smartphone or tablet use any of the tools for restricting app installation or use that we asked about.
  • The wider range of sources of content, set alongside the increased exposure to advertising, the use of services like social networking and the relatively low levels of critical understanding raises challenges for how children keep their personal information safe, understand the implications of sharing personal information and content and navigate the increasingly complex online environment in a way which allows them to reap the benefits and minimise the risks.

Pages 4-12 contain the Executive Summary with key themes and findings – if you don’t have long, do take the time to read these few pages.  Section 3 also contains some fascinating charts on the difference in usage by children between 2005 and 2015.


Average Dad injured 22 times a year by their children!

Dads Dangers

A recent report revealed the average dad suffers 22 injuries a year because of their children! From accidental kicks to the face to bad backs from being a human climbing frame, the wear and tear on Britain’s dads was revealed in a study of 2,000 parents. In fact, the average dad with school-aged children experiences 22 injuries per year.

Results showed that Dad also bashes his shin three times on something the kids have left lying around the house and steps on a toy or plug four times a year on average. More than a third of dads in the South East even felt that to walk across a toy covered floor was the most dangerous aspect of being a parent. While those with cats or dogs can expect to trip over or have the family pet get under their feet a further four times per year. And four times a year dad stumbles on an item of clothing or other belonging that’s been left out, while the dreaded prospect of an accidental hit to the crotch faces men with young children twice a year.

The study also found a fifth of dads have had to take time off work because of an injury picked up after doing everyday activity with the family. In these instances, the average time a dad in the South East was off work was for 10 days, most likely through injury to the back. There’s no letup for dads as just under a third have been headbutted by their young child while a quarter said playfighting with the kids regularly saw them tweak something.

Other areas of parenting where men have had a brush with injury were when having to play goalie kicking a ball around with the kids or when climbing trees with them. And a young at heart one in five picked up an injury doing something to which they confessed ‘I should know better than to attempt at my age’.

Setting the boundaries with children

Rob ParsonsRob Parsons takes a look at different parenting styles and the importance of giving our children security

When it comes to a particular style of child rearing, the truth is that when we become parents, few of us make a conscious choice about it – we just do it, making it up as we go along. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right.

Of course, the big question is, “When we consider the outcomes for the children involved, are some ways of parenting better than others?” Well, let’s take a look at the three main parenting styles:

Authoritarian parentingAuthoritarian

Parents who are authoritarian know how to put their foot down. Typical comments to the children are, “Just do it!” or “Never mind ‘why?’ It’s because I said so.” If the family were the Army, these parents would be the sergeant majors. They expect their orders to be obeyed instantly and don’t encourage discussion.


Permissive parentingThese parents are, in some ways, the opposite of the authoritarian type. They do not like either setting or enforcing boundaries, and they back away from confrontation. They are often warm and accepting of their children, but rarely demand high standards in behaviour. If the child of an authoritarian parent left his chocolate wrappers and trainers on the floor in front of the television they might expect to be yelled at. The child of permissive parents, however, would expect that his parents would probably clear it all up after them.

Authoratative parentingAuthoritative

These parents believe that boundaries are important, but are careful not to back themselves into a corner over things that don’t matter. They are unlikely to hit the roof over minor issues, but on the other hand they will be very firm over things like curfews or homework. They take time to explain why the rules they set are important and are prepared to listen to an opposing view. Their children know they are accepted and loved, but equally know that Mum and Dad are not an easy touch. The children are encouraged to be independent.

I think most people would agree that this is the most effective style of parenting, so let’s spend a little more time on it. With the authoritative parent, the child knows that they are loved and affirmed. They often hear the parent say, “I love you” or “Well done.” Even if the child is testing, the parent looks for ways they can affirm them. In short, the child is secure in the knowledge that although their parent has wishes for them – perhaps in terms of behaviour or achievement – they are loved unconditionally.

In the home there are as few rules as possible, but the child knows that the ones that are in place matter and that breaches of them have consequences. Many of the rules have been agreed between the family members.

A matter of security

Every parent will have their own views on discipline, but enforcing the rules is not just a about discipline; it is a matter of security. There is no faster way to breed insecurity in a child than for them to believe there are no boundaries – and that even if there are, nobody cares if they are crossed.

I once saw a blind man walking along a long hospital corridor. He was tapping his white stick against the wall at the side of him. After a while he stopped tapping – he knew where the wall was. But after he’d gone almost the whole length of the corridor, I saw him reach out with his stick again and tap it against the wall a few times. He needed to test that it was still there – test where the boundaries were. Our children, too, will test the boundaries – push against them every now and then to test they are still there. They will actually feel more secure knowing they are in place.

It is often exhausting, frustrating, and sometimes needs a great deal of persistence and patience, but teaching our kids that boundaries matter is one of the major jobs of every parent.


For more great articles visit Care for the Family’s Parent support pages.

Books I have read: Chronicles of a Desperate Dad

Chronices of a Desperate Dad

I picked up the Chronicles of a Desperate Dad by Mark Richards in a charity shop and I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for this book.

It attempts to be a humorous take on being a dad with Mark recording his attempts at parenting Tom, Ben and Jessica.  At the start this works, but after a while it should comes across as as a little dry and boring, and in the end I just gave up with this book – it will now be going back to a charity shop.