When the call comes in…

By Parent Line Scotland


I have been a volunteer on the ParentLine Scotland helpline for over ten years.  I’ve seen a lot of changes technology-wise during that time – though we started with phone calls we now interact via web chats, emails and text chat – the issues raised are always wide-ranging covering anything concerning to parents, grandparents, carers, neighbours and members of the community.

Today is UN Global Day of Parents and we know how parents want the very best for their children, and sometimes need a little support with this.  When the phone rings or the computer buzzes we hear the emotion and love behind the concerns they have and try to empower the parent to move forward with a plan of how best to help their child, or to just recognise where they are and that they are doing the best they can.  We are trained to deal with whatever comes in, however big or small the issue, that it is always big to the caller. Parents have a chance to talk to someone who is not involved personally, can share their worries with someone who is not going to judge them, take a bit of breathing space, and at the end of the call will hopefully have an idea of a way forward. It’s Ok to reach out for help. Parenting is an enormous job we will ever do but there is no template for it – every family is different. We all need help at some point in our lives.

Communication is at the basis of everything we talk to parents about. We often hear for example parents struggling to maintain contact with a child not living with them. We acknowledge that relationships with their ex-partner can often colour a parent’s emotions and we encourage them to see things from the child’s perspective. We can then help them to see how to effectively communicate with their ex for the best outcome for their children and themselves.

The recent exam period and the wait for the results can bring other stresses to a head. Teenage stress and vulnerability and parents trying to make sense of their child’s overwhelming emotions are a common theme in the calls we receive. None of these are more terrifying for a parent than to be calling us that their child is self-harming, or otherwise suffering through mental health issues. We give those parents space to share how devastated they themselves feel, while being able to offer advice in how best to support their child and minimise the risks to them.

These are just a few examples of what our callers talk about, but as I said before we can support callers with any concern they have about a child, and the calls can be made by anyone with that concern.

Our opening hours are 9am-9pm Monday-Friday, and we can be reached either by phone, on 08000 282233, or look us up online.


Contact us

0131 475 2493
Norton Park 57 Albion Road EH7 5QY Edinburgh