What is Parent Mentoring?

At Insight Matters we have a Relationship and Parent Mentor and 55 talented psychotherapists, psychologists, and counsellors.  We are proud our therapists come from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, the neurodiverse and LGBTQI+ community and are passionate about supporting our clients on a wide range of issues.

Along with supporting our clients through counselling, psychotherapy and mentoring we also want to help them become more informed and assist them to take charge of their own mental health journey through articles written by our therapists.

Aoife Ryan is a Relationship and Parent Mentor and she provides a safe space where clients can explore all aspects of self, and look at their relationship with self and the relationships they have with others around them.

I AM a qualified and experienced Parent and Relationship Mentor and am delighted to say that I have finally found my passion in life! A question that I am frequently asked, and would like to take a little time here to explain, is “What exactly is Parent Mentoring?”

I am a parent to two super kids, aged nine and eleven.  They are what brought me into this line of work, and I am so thankful to them for that.  Shortly after I had my second child, seventeen months apart from the first, I began to struggle.  I found my anxiety levels getting higher, my temper getting shorter, my days felt very long, and not altogether happy.  I wasn’t depressed as such, but I was finding parenting much harder than I expected.  I had waited a long time for my 2 kids, and had thought that because I was older, (and I imagined wiser), that I would take to it like a duck to water! But this wasn’t the case.  In fact, parenting had, I discovered, amplified so many things for me, about me, and about my behaviour.  My children were like mirrors, reflecting to me things about myself, and they were not necessarily things I wanted to look at.

A friend dragged me along to a parenting course.  I didn’t enjoy it at all and rang the facilitator and told her I wouldn’t be back after the 1st week.  But I did go back, and I completed the full 10-week course.  I later discovered that the very things that had irritated and annoyed me, were the very things I needed to look at and attend too in myself.  This was unconscious resonance.  I completed two more 10-week courses, about parenting teenagers and about relationships.  I then attended a mentor for many one to one therapy sessions.  That was when I realised that the work and the approach resonated with me very deeply. I wanted to pursue this on a professional level.   I completed my Higher Diploma (level 8) studies in Relationship and Parent Mentoring in University College Cork and began work as a Parent Mentor.  Since then I have decided to take my studies a step further and am currently doing an MSc. in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic skills.

My training and qualification as a Parent Mentor provide me with unique skills and insight into parenting, family wellbeing and relationships.  This, coupled with my own lived experience as a parent, leave me feeling well placed to accompany parents on their own unique journeys.  Working with parents, I help them to overcome the family-related challenges they face and help them reach their full potential.  I provide much needed proactive support which enables parents to navigate family life.  This helps to foster improved family wellbeing and makes for positive change for everyone.  My approach is kind, compassionate, loving and non-judgemental.

This work usually takes place in a one to one therapy session, in Insight Matters. Parents come, either together or separately, and we explore their situation, looking at family dynamics, environment, history and each parents’ individual life story and experience.  As parents understand their relationship with themselves they are in a better position to understand their relationships with their children.  When parents put themselves first, and begin to understand their own behaviour, their children, extended families, colleagues, friends and ultimately society will reap the rewards.

I am passionate about increasing parents’ confidence around their parenting skills.  When parents’ confidence and competence around parenting increases, parents and children alike feel the benefits.

I believe strongly that parents’ mental health and emotional wellbeing are at the heart of a mature society.  When parents are considered, cared for and supported, the next generation will also be considered, cared for and supported.

I feel strongly that when parents put themselves first, when they parent themselves lovingly, that both they and their families feel the benefits.  I believe this because the work I have done on myself, and my way of being, has changed my life and my families lives for the better.  I strive to improve my relationship with myself daily, and through this my relationship with my family.  I see the benefits of personal reflection in myself and in my family life.

Parent Mentoring is not about methods and strategies, it is about unconditional holding and love.  A space is created where a parent can sit and examine what they need too in order to create a safe and loving environment for themselves and their families, in their home.

“Methods of any kind are strategies, and strategies do not open the hearts door.  It has to be blown open by a great wind, the wind of love, which is the only thing that will truly carry you away.” (The time before death, by Kabir), Roger Housden,  Ten Poems to Change Your Life, Pg. 53

Working as a Parent Mentor is extremely rewarding and fulfilling, and I am excited to continue working with parents to help them find the solutions they need to live a whole and more peaceful life with their families.

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