Saturday, March 3, 2018

Here is an interesting article on Attachment Theory, summarising  secure and insecure  attachments. In particular, it refers to the behavioural manifestations of both and how this knowledge of attachment is useful for teachers in the classroom. It also refers to targeted interventions that have been effective.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Irish Youth Mental Health Survey Summary

My World Survey (MWS), is a study on the mental health of young people in Ireland. It was conducted under the auspices of UCD, by Barbara Dooley and Headstrong, under the leadership of Tony Bates.

It was carried out over 5 years between the years 2008 – 2012. Its purpose was to develop a national baseline of youth mental health in Ireland. It was the first national study of Youth Mental Health in Ireland from the ages of 12 – 25. Internationally, 75% of serious mental health issued first emerge between the ages of 15 – 25 (Hickie, 2004, Kessler et al, 2005; Kim – Cohen et al, 2003).

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Info for parents about the anonymous app called Sarahah and the anti - Sarahah anonymous app called TBH, the latest viral sensation among teens

Chicago Now has 2 good articles on these apps. They are both anonymous apps, the first is Sarahah the second one is the anti - Sarahah called TBH.

Sarahah is where people can say mean things about others. TBH is a kindness app, you can only say kind things about people.

Click the links below to access the articles

Sarahah article

TBH article

Info for parents about the TBH app, the latest viral sensation among teensWhat parents need to know about Sarahah, the popular anonymous messaging app


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Talk on Cyber Bullying by Prof. Sameer Hinduja

I attended a public lecture on Monday 15th May delivered by Prof. Sameer Hinduja of Florida Atlantic University, who is a world expert on Cyberbullying. It was hosted by the Anti Bullying Centre in DCU. Dr Hinduja runs the website The lecture was really insightful and thought provoking. The trust of the lecture was helping people become better human beings so that, they do not want to be associated with bullying. He gave some really practical ideas that schools could use to bring about a change in the school culture.

Below are some notes that I made during the lecture.


Don’t increase formal sanctions for bullying. While sanctions are important do not increase them when a misdemeanour occurs. He stated that research has consistently indicated that these do not work.

Don’t have zero tolerance policies.

Don’t use public shaming.

Don’t use fear-based messaging, as this has been shown not to be effective.


Do talk about anonymous apps. Try to discourage the use of these. Although students can post information anonymously, these apps also hold IP addresses so people’s computer can be traced.


Do follow up school assemblies with a plan, send information home to parents and do role plays with students.

Do chose speakers wisely, new cyber gurus are appearing every day.

Don’t say ‘bullying causes suicide’ as this is generally not true. There are usually other factors involved.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Anxiety Management Resources

Anxiety or is a fear which occurs in response to an event, it is not the event itself however, it is the emotion that we confer on it. Anxiety is an emotion like other emotions: anger, sadness and joy. Like other emotions, anxiety will pass.

Anxiety is best managed by introducing coping strategies which in turn develop resilience or / reduce stressors. Generally a combination of both is used.

Useful practical tools for anxiety management:

Each person has 60,000 thought per day. Some of these thought are going to be anxiety provoking.

1.    Do a body scan to find out where the anxiety is stored. How does anxiety manifest itself in one’s behaviour in one’s emotions, one’s thoughts and how one thinks about oneself.
2.    Have a wellness toolkit with 5 things in it. E.g. sleep, food, water, exercise, music (this will vary from person to person).
3.    Contain the anxiety: Time it, Box it, and Fix it.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tips on How to Help a Child Cope With Parental Separation

The specific example situation here is where there are two children in a family and the parents have separated. The kids are Jack a boy of 8 and Kate a girl of 5. Jack is acting up and Kate is copying Jack's behaviours. This advice is for the mother who is raising the kids. In particular it is geared towards helping Jack. The suggestions are generic and must be adapted depending on his personality and the particular issues that arise.

The overall aim is for the mother to help Jack manage his emotional turmoil.

This is best achieved by the following:

  • Giving him the language to express what is going on for him.
  • Allowing him to express it, in a constructive way.
  • Managing the spill over onto the other child.
  • Nurturing the continued development of his self esteem.

One of the first things to do is to  inform the school that the parents have separated. Ask his teacher to send a note home if he behaves in an inappropriate way. (This means that the mother can deal with it in a timely manner). However, it is not unusual for children at this stage to be well behaved in school and not at home.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Guidelines for Parents to Ensure their Child’s Online Safety

What should my child do to remain safe on line?

  1. Sit down with your child and go through the privacy settings for the App or Website they wish to use. Prior to this, do some research such as Googling “Privacy Concerns with Instagram”.
    • This will help you discover information such as Instagram reveals the location (Geo Tag) of every photo taken by all Instagram users. So any photograph taken at home can reveal the user’s address.
  2. Advise your child not to give out their online passwords to anyone and to change it periodically.
  3. At night keep devices in your bedroom, not in a central place downstairs. (Children have been known to go down stairs at night and to retrieve them).

Who Should your child friend online?

  1. Remind your child only to be friends with children that they would be friendly with offline.
  2. Go through your child’s account with them and filter friends to be only those with whom they spend time offline. Have a ‘delete day’. Inform your child that you expect them to do this also. 
  3. Inform your child that it is okay not to accept friendship requests from people they do not know. Tell them you expect them to do this and that you will be monitoring to ensure that that is what happens.

What Information is okay to share?