NUI Galway Conducting Online Research on Parents Experiences of their Children’s Behaviour

Dec 14 2018 Posted: 12:43 GMT

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway is seeking 1,000 parents to complete an online ‘Child in Mind Survey’ which is looking at parents’ experiences of their children’s behaviour. The researchers are keen to hear from both fathers and mothers of children aged from two up to 18 years, and in particular the experiences with their eldest child.

The study is being carried out by researchers, Noella Lyons, who is also a Senior Clinical Psychologist in the HSE and Dr Jonathan Egan, who is the Deputy Course Director of the Clinical Psychology Programme at NUI Galway and a Consulting Chartered Clinical and Health Psychologist.

Noella Lyons from the School Psychology at NUI Galway, explained: “This research hopes to explore a concept called reflective functioning. This relates to how we understand the thoughts, feelings, intentions and behaviours of ourselves and of other people. This online survey is embedded in research on attachment which focuses on how children’s relationship with their parents develops. Through research like this we are beginning to understand more about the importance of how strong parent-child attachment can protect children’s social and emotional wellbeing, thereby leading them to become more resilient as teenagers and adults.”

It is hoped that this research will lead to better awareness of how Mums and Dads experience their children’s behaviour. We know that all behaviour is trying to tell us something. Young children in particular don’t have the language skills to tell us about their feelings so they act out when they are hungry or tired, for example. For older children parents tend to have to do a little more exploration to understand what is going on in their child’s mind to cause behaviour problems.

Dr Jonathan Egan from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “Some of these less studied aspects of parenting might open a door to help current parenting programmes become more effective in helping parents meet both their children’s and their own needs. Feeling like you are being an effective parent, builds up a sense of being in control of your family’s direction and also leaves you feeling like a better and more competent mum or dad, which can only be a good thing.”

For more information about the study contact Noella Lyons, School of Psychology, NUI Galway at

To complete the online survey, which takes 10-15 minutes to complete, visit:


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