How line, colour and shape can help a young person in crisis

By Jen Willis, Communications Consultant, Take Two – Berry Street.

“I really can’t draw. And I think that helps, because they can laugh at me.”

Not what you’d expect to hear from an art therapist.

Danni is a Take Two specialist working with very traumatised young people in crisis. She uses line, colour and shape to support her clinical work with young people who are admitted to Secure Welfare.

Continue reading “How line, colour and shape can help a young person in crisis”

A shared responsibility

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

Berry Street is acutely aware of what happens when children are denied a good childhood.

We know that while parents have the primary responsibility to provide their children with a good childhood, they cannot do this in isolation. Parents, carers, service providers like Berry Street, government and community all have a role in contributing to children’s wellbeing. Continue reading “A shared responsibility”

Childhood Domains: what makes a good childhood?

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

The concept of a good childhood means many things to many people. Making a definitive assessment of a good childhood is difficult, but is a task that Berry Street feels is important to undertake for the sake of those children whose childhoods are blighted by violence, poverty, neglect, educational or any other disadvantage. Continue reading “Childhood Domains: what makes a good childhood?”

Early Childhood: the importance of the early years

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

Although intuition tells us how important a child’s early experiences are, the evidence is now overwhelming. A good childhood really is the foundation for a healthy adult life and cohesive society.

Over the previous decade, we have seen a greater focus on, and understanding of, the importance of childhood wellbeing, both from an objective and subjective perspective. It is now generally understood that children’s wellbeing is crucial, not just for their own lives, but for society as a whole. Continue reading “Early Childhood: the importance of the early years”

Childhood Wellbeing

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

Childhood wellbeing – how we define it and what its key factors are – is a growing field of research around the world.

Childhood wellbeing is generally understood as the quality of children’s lives. It is an overarching and multi-dimensional concept that encompasses both subjective indicators (i.e. perceptions of quality of life and overall life satisfaction) and objective indicators (i.e. household income and health status) that focus on the immediate lives of children but also consider the longer-term outcomes. Continue reading “Childhood Wellbeing”

Childhood in the 21st Century

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

What are the key factors impacting on childhood today?

The pace of change in the 21st century has been rapid.

Despite children being raised in a time that is firmly focused on the needs and cares of children – with greater awareness and knowledge than ever before on the factors that impact childhood – evidence suggests that Australian children and young people growing up in the 21st century are not faring as well as they could be. Continue reading “Childhood in the 21st Century”

Childhood – an historical perspective

This post is part of our series on what makes a good childhood.

Attitudes towards children and the way in which we interact, engage and care for them has changed dramatically over the previous 500 years.

In centuries past, children existed alongside adults, and once they were past infancy, were expected to work, firstly with their families, and then often as waged or unwaged labourers, in order that they and their families could survive.

The concept of childhood – how we define it and the experiences and activities of children within it – is an ever-shifting one that has presented us with many opportunities and challenges across the centuries. Continue reading “Childhood – an historical perspective”

What makes a good childhood?

The concept of a good childhood means many things to many people, yet one thing we all have in common is the experience of having once been a child.

The period of childhood, when we reflect back, is often remembered as a fleeting time. Researchers and early childhood practitioners however, tell us that this ‘fleeting’ time is one of critical development for a child, and the importance of it must be understood.

In early 2017, Berry Street’s Childhood Institute commenced on a research project to bring together information around current thinking and research findings and practices, frameworks, key issues and approaches, around how a good childhood is defined and the key factors and domains of a good childhood. Continue reading “What makes a good childhood?”

The longest relationship

Children in out-of-home care often have uniquely strong sibling relationships. This article looks at some of the reasons siblings are separated and ways sibling relationships can be maintained and nurtured while children are in out-of-home care.

By Dr. Trish McCluskey, Berry Street

Almost all of us have one, or more. Sometimes we wish we hadn’t and then we cannot imagine our lives without them. Remember primary school? We fight with them, they fight with us and then we fight for them.

Siblings: our closest genetic relative, our soulmates, rivals for parental affections, the keepers of our unembellished history.

For children in out-of-home care and indeed for all of us, our siblings are usually the longest relationship of our lives. Sometimes these are close and loving relationships and other times they are not. Interestingly even fraught sibling relationships can often be repaired and research shows siblings being identified as major supports as we get older.

Why then do sibling relationships seem to be so underestimated and overlooked for children in foster, kinship or residential care? Continue reading “The longest relationship”

Parents: 24/7 CEOs of our kids’ lives

Parenting today is a complicated business. A new book gives advice on how to build on our kids’ strengths rather than trying to improve their weaknesses.

By

These days I run strength-based workshops for schools, workplaces, and parents around the world. I’ve found that no matter what country, continent, or culture they’re from, two things unite all parents: the desire to help their children flourish and a sense of inadequacy for this task.

Parenting can feel overwhelming. We’re the CEOs of our children’s lives, responsible for all the different departments: cognitive, physical, social, emotional, moral, sexual, spiritual, cultural, and educational. The buck starts and stops with us. Continue reading “Parents: 24/7 CEOs of our kids’ lives”

How resilience can break the link between a ‘bad’ childhood and the youth justice system

Kathryn Daley, RMIT University and Stuart Thomas, RMIT University

Most young people in the youth justice system have been found to come from “troubled” backgrounds. However, many people with similar backgrounds don’t ever end up in youth justice services. The Conversation

Knowing why people with troubled childhoods may be more likely to engage in criminal activity is necessary to inform the development of effective prevention and early intervention initiatives. Continue reading “How resilience can break the link between a ‘bad’ childhood and the youth justice system”

The value of strength-based parenting

Strength-based parenting can bring huge benefits, using positive psychology to unlock your children’s potential and enhance their wellbeing.

By 

It’s widely accepted in today’s culture that good parenting requires a balance of warmth and control. Research shows that parents who respond to the needs of children in loving ways, whilst setting rules that build independence and emotional intelligence, produce the best-adjusted, most resourceful, and highest-achieving kids.

Referred to as ‘authoritative parenting’, this style of parenting was identified by University of California, Los Angeles, psychologist Dr Diana Baumrind, whose research on parenting spans three decades, from 1960-1990.

Her work identified that authoritative parenting has the most positive effect on a child’s wellbeing and inspired further research that began in the 90s, on emotional coaching (the warmth aspect) and autonomy-granting parents (the control aspect), and still continues today.

While I certainly agree with an authoritative approach, I’d also argue that parenting research needs to evolve. Sure, parent-child relationships still need warmth and control but, as a psychology researcher and a mother of two, I’m interested in updating our knowledge of effective parenting. After all, we’re well and truly into the 21st Century and yet the bulk of parenting practices are based on ideas put forward in the 1960s and 1990s. Isn’t it time for an upgrade? Continue reading “The value of strength-based parenting”