Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

What is the impact on children of having a parent working abroad?

A psychology student in Trinity College is looking to interview families with one parent working overseas. Can you help?

The Cronin sisters waiting to welcome home their father in Dublin Airport recently

Thu, Dec 13, 2012, 01:00



The Cronin sisters waiting to welcome home their father at Dublin Airport recently

I am the eldest of six children who find ourselves separated by the Atlantic Ocean from our father for months at a time. Moving to Boston to work was not a decision he made lightly, but given the current opportunities in the construction industry here in Ireland, and with increasing college fees and a mortgage due each month, in some ways there was never a choice involved.

As part of my final year studying psychology in Trinity College Dublin, I am currently completing a research project exploring the experiences of families like ours, particularly to hear adolescents’ views.

I am hoping to conduct 20-minute interviews with teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18. I also would like to ask the parent based in Ireland to fill in a questionnaire to give me an idea of what factors were involved in their partner choosing to begin working abroad, and how they believe their family is adjusting to the transition.

An unknown number of families in Ireland find themselves in this situation, where one parent is working and living outside of Ireland for extended periods of time in order to support their families at home. Little is known about how prevalent this situation is in Ireland, what affect it has on the children and parent still at home, or what impact being physically distant from their families has on parents working abroad to send remittances home.

Having a better understanding of this phenomenon will highlight the unique experiences of these families and help frame expectations for parents considering working abroad. Having a greater awareness of the experiences involved in having a family member working overseas, will also have increased prospects for creating policies to support these families.

I would love to hear from anyone whose family is experiencing having a parent working outside of Ireland. Those who are interested in taking part can email me at