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Parents Must Model Respectful Behaviour


Parent Guides “tell it like it is”.

With the consequences of bad behaviour and broken relationships in the media spotlight, a new guide aims to help parents and carers to develop in their children a sense of respect.

Melbourne media identity Eileen Berry says many topical issues, such as violence against women and generally abusive behaviour, stem from a lack of respect. She says most people are respectful, but a significant minority do not demonstrate it in public or at home.

“This can result in sexism, racism, violence and other destructive behaviours,” she says.

Respect 101 is the latest in Eileen’s Parent Guides series. It helps families define respect and encourage it in their children. “Respect 101 identifies what respectful behaviour is, how to turn disrespectful into respectful, how to create life-long relationships and how to embed respect within the culture of adolescence,” Eileen says.

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Suicide – It’s Time We Talked



See the Play on the 29th of March. At Sacred Heart College, Retreat Road, Newtown – Geelong. Register and Get Your Free Tickets!

 

It’s time to talk about suicide:

A new and engaging production that combines a play about suicide with a panel of mental health experts will connect and bring people together in local communities.

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Mental Health 101: Experts to discuss stress and anxiety.


A local library will tackle the important issue of youth mental health and well-being, with an open and interactive free information evening. This event will be for teenagers, their parents and carers.

Casey Cardinia Libraries will host Mental Health 101: Stress and Anxiety. Based on the Mental Health 101 parent guide produced by Melbourne media identity Eileen Berry.

The event, held on 28 March, will discuss mental health and related issues such as drugs, sex and social media.

Eileen will join an expert panel from Headspace and PoPsy to inform and spark conversations about how to manage mental health and well-being.

She says mental health is a huge concern for young people, with suicide the leading cause of death among Australians aged 15-44 (source: ABS).

“Parents and carers want to know how they can help their kids become resilient, minimise mental health issues and deal with them when they do arise,” Eileen says. “We want to encourage important conversations between adults and kids that can help achieve this.”

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Children Need to Experience Failure to Thrive


Helicopter parents take an overactive and excessive interest in their child’s life.

All parents want the best for their child but they can become over-involved, smothering, overbearing, interfering and over-controlling. I also call them tow-truck parents because they wait for an accident to happen and then steam in and clear up the mess.

They have clear opinions about who is the right teacher for their child, what sport they should play, they want their child to be in the popular group and they offer disproportionate assistance, rather than allowing their teenager space.

These parents don’t enjoy uncertainty, so they over-prepare and supervise intensely and interfere with their child’s opportunity to do something for themselves and to deal with the natural consequences of their actions. Read more

I Was Bullied My Whole Life


Keiah Smith endured years of bullying through primary school and high school. She became depressed and attempted suicide.

I was bullied my whole life but it got particularly bad when I was ten and revealed I’d been sexually abused. I told a friend and it spread around the school and I was called a ‘slut’. I was also overweight and picked on for that, too.

At high school, I was regularly bashed. Mum and Dad told the school it wasn’t acceptable but it continued. I was bashed walking to class, during lunch and when I retaliated, I was suspended. It was heartbreaking and it’s hard to put into words how I felt. Read more

Youth Mental Health in the Spotlight


Parent Guides: ‘Tell it like it is’.

‘Honest and open conversation is a must for parents and carers dealing with teenagers mental health issues.’ Says a new resource that tells it like it is.

Melbourne media identity Eileen Berry says ‘Suicide, anxiety, depression, ADHD, self-harm, eating disorders and other mental illnesses are all taking a terrible toll on young people.’

But she says parents can help minimise these and other issues by educating themselves about building resilience in children by knowing how to approach problems if they arise.
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When it Comes to Sex, the Internet is Not the Devil


Bettina Arndt

Bettina Arndt

I know there a lot of scary talk about teenagers and sex, but the sky is not falling in. It’s simply not true that all kids are being sexualised too early or are madly into porn or pressured into sex before they are ready.

I actually think is a really good time now to be a teenager with so much information online to help them learn about their bodies and prepare for sexual experiences.

When I was first working in sex education back in the ‘70s I used to smuggle slides of penises and vulvas into the country so I could show people what normal genitals looked like. Now there are great websites showing all the normal variations and teaching young people about their bodies. It’s amazing. Read more

How to Help Your Children Develop Empathy


As parents we need to help our kids step up when they see hurtful or hateful behaviour. We need to help them critique their assumptions about what kinds of behaviour everyone else thinks is OK. In adolescence, children place high value on what friends think, and they use that to guide their behaviour because they want to belong.

When you talk about these assumptions, children may find that actually their mates don’t want to be that kind of mate or that kind of boyfriend. Instead, they want to be a good friend, and our children need to think about what that means in terms of their behaviour towards other people. Read more

Consent and Respect


Debbie Ollis Parent Guides

Debbie Ollis

What Does Consent Mean?

Consent means a free agreement, and it’s important that young people understand that. So if someone has been drinking they can’t give consent to sex. If someone is asleep they can’t give free agreement. If someone is underage they can’t give consent to sex either.

Talking about sex with our kids isn’t easy but it is necessary. Research tells us that young people trust the information they get from their parents, particularly their mothers.

As parents, we need to talk to our teenagers about the importance of asking a partner ‘is this what you would like to do?’. They can’t assume consent because they think they understand the body language of their partner – they have to ask. Read more

Parenting Girls – 10 Things You Need to Know


ABC Radio Melbourne presenter Clare Bowditch talked to Steve Biddulph AM, Australian author, activist and psychologist about his new book on parenting and raising girls. This is an edited transcript of the interview.

10 Things Girls Need MostClare Bowditch: There are many things in life that we spend lots of time worrying about, but for those of you who have children I am assuming that you’re something like me and you spend a fair bit of your time wondering “How do I give these kids what they need in order to become the kind of adults that I know they can be?” It’s a question educators like Steve Biddulph have been asking for some decades now. You might know him as the author behind the million selling book, Raising Boys. He’s now turned his attention once again to the mental health of our girls. His belief is that perhaps they’re growing up too fast in these times. What can we do to support them in their growth and what are the 10 things, according to Steve Biddulph, that girls need most? That’s the title of his new book. …

Steve you have a lovely way of being able to simplify this complicated process called growing up. Now, you’ve been guiding parents through the process of supporting their kids in their quest to adulthood for many decades now. What have you noticed changing particularly in the life of girls?

Steve Biddulph: Okay, well it used to be Clare that girls were going great. 20 years ago they were flying ahead and that’s why I concentrated on boys for nearly 35 years because boys were the disaster area. But about 10 years ago my colleagues all around the world were picking up this really serious downturn in the mental health of girls. I had a teenage daughter in those times and I saw what she was going through and what her friends were going through and girls were just getting hammered. We just got more and more alarmed and so this new book is because I thought we needed some stronger medicine to give parents to help girls regain self-belief. All the things feminism was working for which seem to have gone out the window just lately.

CB: I think there is a new and interesting way of coming through but what you’re saying is girls were suffering. What was the evidence of this? What were you seeing Steve? How are they showing their suffering?

SB: The clearest cut and probably the core thing was anxiety. Now there may be people listening who’ve got daughters who are relaxed and confident and spirited into their mid teens. They may have loyal friends and are treated respectfully by the boys in their lives and that’s fantastic if that’s the case but for about two girls out of five, that’s just not so. They’re massively anxious and currently across the western world one in five teenage girls is on anxiety medication. They’ve reached a point where mum or dad have taken them to their doctor because it’s that’s scary and severe. Anxiety then drives the other things like self-harm and eating disorders and alcohol overuse and risky sex … but anxiety, we think, is the core.

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