Family & Parental Support
Becoming a parent and forming a family does not come with an instruction manual for all the things you will face. It is one of the most important and difficult things you can do. It is also one of the most rewarding. To raise a child and have family is a huge responsibility which is usually taken for granted. Of course, we want our children to become healthy, happy, well-adjusted, successful, honest, caring, responsible adults! And we want our families to be safe, fulfilled and connected. But this is a lot to ask.
On this page you will find a range of information resources to help on the following topics including:
|Parenting||Guiding Children’s Behaviour||Growing and Learning in the Family|
|Childhood Resilience||Blended Families||Children and Learning about Sexuality|
Parents grow into their role. Indeed, as a parent, you should not expect to be perfect and have all the answers all the time. Parenting styles differ, and as long as children’s wellbeing is ensured, the style that works best for parents is likely to make them feel more confident in their role. Most parents learn as they go, influenced by the way they were brought up, or by what they have read or watched others do.
← Open this information resource to find out more about being a parent and a few tips that might make parenting just that little bit easier.
‘Time in’: Guiding Children’s Behaviour
A ‘time in’ approach to guiding children’s behaviour involves staying close to your child when they are overwhelmed with strong feelings. Staying connected helps them feel safe and secure and to calm down. Indeed, being with your child when they have strong feelings or difficult behaviour sends the message that you love them no matter what. Children gradually learn to manage their own feelings and behaviour.
← Open this information resource to find out more about how to take a ‘time in’ approach to guiding children’s behaviour.
Growing & Learning in the Family
The first and most important learning in a child’s life happens within the family. Children learn from the way people treat them and what they see, hear and experience from as soon as they are born. Between birth and five years, and especially to three years, children grow and learn at the fastest rate of their life. Parents and those who care for children have a great opportunity in these early years to help shape children’s learning, long before they start school.
← Open this information resource for a broad overview of how children learn, important areas for childhood learning, and things you can do with children at different ages.
Childhood Resilience & Coping Skills
Helping children build inner strength to cope with the ‘ups and downs’ of growing up is one of the best things parents can do. Having the confidence and skills to face, overcome or even be strengthened by hardship is a powerful thing to teach them.
Researchers have looked at what helps some people to manage difficult times when others don’t cope well. They suggest that the first step towards building childhood resilience is for parents to know how to protect their children from major stresses where possible. For this reason, it is important to know what the general stresses are for most children as they grow. It is also important to help your children learn how to develop their strengths – whether they have big stresses or not.
← Open this information resource to find out more about what resilience is, children need to build resilience, and what you can do to help them
Building a new family can be an exciting fresh start for parents and children. But it is not always easy. It takes lots of time, energy and care for the new family to work well. Each family has its own strengths to build on and challenges to deal with. A blended family is a new family that will build its own history and traditions over time. It is exciting to work out how you will do things, but not always easy.
← Open this information resource to find out more about some of the challenges that might arise when forming a new and blended family, as well as the different ways in which you can overcome these challenges.
Children and Learning about Sexuality
Learning about sexuality is just as important to children as any other learning. Children need to learn about the sexual parts of their body, just as they learn about arms and legs. They need to feel good about their body and about being themselves. Children build their understanding of sexual matters, relationships and values a little at a time as they grow and mature. They learn from lots of sources whether parents teach them about it or not.
← Open this information resource to find out more about the influences on your children in regard to learning about sexuality, why we should talk with our children about these matters, and tips for talking to them.
Starting school is an exciting time of change for children and families. There are many things you can do to prepare for the changes. Helping children to feel confident and positive about school will give them a good start. It is important to remember that there is a lot for children to get used to when they start school. Some will adapt more easily than others.
← Open this information resource to find out more about orientation of kids to school, getting your child ready for school, ways in which to work with your school to ensure a smooth transition, and what to do if your child gets stressed with the change.
Grandparents don’t have set roles as parents do. Talk with your adult children about what each of you expects. Some grandparents are closely involved in children’s lives while others are grandparenting from a distance if their children live far away. Others may be grandparenting through sensitive family situations such as separation, divorce, or in a step-family. Whatever kind of grandparent you are it’s important to support your family, to be open to new ideas and willing to talk things over. Seek help and support for yourself if you need to.
← Open this information resource to find out more about grandparenting today, including what grandparents can do with their grandchildren, reminders for grandparents, and information for grandparents raising grandchildren.
Grandcarers: Looking after Yourself
In taking on your children’s children you may feel that you have lost yourself. So many things seem to vanish, like your freedom, your independence, your retirement plans, even friends – they have finished with childrearing and they don’t want to know about it any more. It is also natural that you might have a lot of grief. For example, for your child and all the dreams you had for them to have a happy life. Your grandchildren – they have lost their parents and may still be suffering hurts caused by them. And you may even feel you have lost your ‘self’ and the life you have given up.
← Open this information resource to find out more about how to look after yourself if you are in this situation.
|Family Violence||Dealing with a Crisis||Child Abuse|
|Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse||Bullying||Cyber Safety|
|Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder||Safety for Young Children||Making your House Safe for Children|
Many families argue at times but domestic violence, or family violence, is more than just arguing. It is actions or words that hurt, scare, control or bully others. Everyone in the family is harmed by violence, especially children. Living with the stress of violence affects children’s brain development even if they are not the victim. It can lead to problems with emotions and behaviour, and make it harder for them to learn.
← Open this information resource to find out more about what family violence is, why it happens, how it starts, the effects on family and children, and how to get help.
Dealing with a Crisis
When we have stress in our lives it is often a time when we make changes for the better. However, if we get too stressed and feel we cannot cope any more, then we are in crisis. In a crisis, children need to feel safe and know that there is someone they can rely on. They have similar feelings to adults but may show their distress in actions rather than words. Children learn about coping from how they see their parents dealing with a crisis.
← Open this information resource to find out more about what a crisis is, what causes a crisis, how to get help or help others in a crisis and other helpful tips.
Sometimes children are abused or neglected by their parents or carers. Some people think it is only abuse if a child is physically hurt. This is not correct. Child abuse is when a child is physically, emotionally or sexually harmed. It is when their health, safety or wellbeing needs are neglected. Indeed, children are abused when they are made to feel worthless or unloved, when they live with violence, or when their basic needs are ignored. This leaves just as many scars and the effects can last a lifetime.
← Open this information resource to find out more about the different types of child abuse, why it happens, its effects on children, and what you can do to help.
Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse is when an adult or older or bigger child persuades, tricks or forces a child into sexual activity. Sexual abuse of children is a crime and causes serious harm to children and their families. The effects can last a lifetime. There are, however, things that parents can do to help keep children safe. Most significantly, it is important children know when something is wrong and how to tell others about it.
← Open this information resource to find out more about what child sexual abuse is, what parents can do to keep their kids safe, possible signs of sexual abuse, and what to do if a child tells you they have been abused.
Bullying is verbal, emotional or physical abuse which is repeated and intended to hurt, frighten or threaten someone. It is a form of violence and a way of having power over others. Bullying can happen to any child or teenager anywhere, at any time. Parents can help by listening, believing and supporting children. You can talk to people with the power to stop it, help children develop coping strategies and gain a sense of control and confidence.
← Open this information resource to find out more about what bullying is, different types of bullying, where and why it happens, its effects, and how you can help.
The online world is part of everyday life for many children and young people. It is a huge virtual playground where they can play, learn and socialise. It can be accessed by computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices. Parents can help children get the most from the online world by being involved from the start and helping them learn how to stay safe. You don’t have to be an expert. Knowing where to find things out and get help is what’s important.
← Open this information resource to find out more about children and the online world, what parents can do, and what cyber bullying is.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is an umbrella term for a range of disabilities resulting from exposure to alcohol during pregnancy and includes Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Alcohol Related Neuro-developmental Disorder (ARND) and Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD). The most widely publicised is FAS – a disorder in which permanent birth defects occur in the children of women who drink alcohol during pregnancy, and is at the severe end of the spectrum.
← Open this information resource to find out more Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Safety for Young Children
Childhood injuries are not usually ‘accidents’ and most of them can be prevented. Injuries to young children often happen at home because this is where they spend most of their time. The best way to keep children safe is to supervise them well. It is also important to make sure your home, yard and other environments are safe.
← Open this information resource to find out more children and danger, keeping children safe, and teaching children about safety.
Making your House Safe for Children
Parents worry endlessly about how to protect their children from stranger abduction and violence, but many overlook one of the biggest threats to their children’s safety and wellbeing – their own home. Experts say that children between the ages of 1 and 4 are more likely to be killed by fire, burns, drowning, choking, poisoning, or falls than by a stranger’s violence.
← Open this information resource to find out more about preventing burns, the dangers of electrical appliances and how to avoid them, preventing poisoning, how to use first aid effectively, and tips for making your home safer for your children.