All posts by Craig Bloxham

How ‘Sesame Street’ is helping kids learn to cope with trauma

Big Bird and his “Sesame Street” buddies are taking on a new mission: helping kids learn to cope with stress and trauma.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit offshoot of the long-running children’s program “Sesame Street,” launched the powerful new initiative, which was designed with the help of psychologists, the same week that the nation was rocked by the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The initiative includes materials for parents, caregivers and social workers, as well as video elements featuring the beloved “Sesame Street” Muppets demonstrating the simple exercises to help children to feel safe and cope with the traumatic and stressful experiences.

A new analysis of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health that was released today found that nearly half of all American children under age 18 have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE).

ACEs, or stressful or traumatic events, have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential and even early death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Controland Prevention. ACEs are also a significant risk factor for substance abuse disorders, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

While traumatic experiences cannot always be prevented, the new material from “Sesame Street,” released entirely online, aims to help prevent childhood trauma from defining a person’s life and lessen the adverse effects of it.

“As much as we would like to wrap our arms around our children and try to keep anything bad from getting through, it’s unrealistic that we have that ability,” Robin Gurwitch, a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, told ABC News earlier this week in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 58 people and injured hundreds more.

Dr. Lee Beers, a pediatrician at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., added that tragedy does not have to be a trauma for children if it is “buffered by good, strong and caring relationships, by the adults around the child.”

Sherrie Westin, an executive at Sesame Workshop, said she felt called to launch the program “given how few resources there are for young children dealing with traumatic experiences.”

“Sesame Street” characters are also in a unique position to help children cope with trauma, Westin added in a statement, because “’Sesame Street’ has always been a source of comfort to children dealing with very difficult circumstances.”

“We know how damaging childhood trauma can be to a child’s health and wellbeing,” Dr. Richard Besser, the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which helped fund the initiative said in a statement.

Besser, a former ABC News medical correspondent, added that the new initiative “provides tools to help children cope with life’s most difficult challenges.”

The full resources are available on the “Sesame Street in Communities” website. Big Bird appeared live on “Good Morning America” today to demonstrate some of the exercises, but you can watch all of the stress-mitigating lessons from the Muppets below.

The ‘Sesame Street’ Muppets teach children how to cope with stress and trauma:

How to imagine a safe place for yourself

How to give yourself a hug

How to calm yourself down with simple counting and breathing exercises

How to build self confidence

How to slow down and settle down when you feel anxious

How to let your feelings out when you feel angry

How to create a space where you feel safe

Simple Ways to Strengthen Friendship in Marriage

In relationships, sex can disappear with health problems, loving feelings can get lost in temporary fights, and the youthful attraction between partners can vanish with age.

So what makes relationships last over time? Friendship with emotional intimacy. Most happy couples will tell you that they feel they are friends before romantic partners. Becoming friends who are committed to each other can help couples get through the good and bad, through sickness and health.

Below are 5 ways to strengthen friendship in your marriage or relationship.

1. Appreciate your spouse

No one is perfect but  someone can be perfect for you. Therefore you must appreciate your spouse. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

John Hamilton, 53 years old, said, “Mary and I, both enjoy swimming but I love Toastmasters and Mary does not.  I really like it when I can practice my speeches in front of her that I prepare for presentations. She listens and critiques it.  Even though she is not a member, she claims she has learned a lot from me. I like the support.”

2. Share core values

Know what your partner or spouse’s core values are. Core values can be respect, compassion, self-worth, trustworthiness etc. Breach of these core values can be deal breakers. Once these values are violated relationships go downhill.

Janie Hudson, 35 years old, said, “I’d been married before I met my present husband, Jake. I told Jake when we were dating that I can’t stand a liar because I never could trust that last husband of mine. I didn’t like the way he made me feel about myself. That is my pet peeve. As long as we don’t have to go there, we will make it.  I know that would not be easy but I wanted the foundation of my relationship to be based on truth and honesty. I don’t have to like what I hear but what I hear has to be the truth.”

3. Encourage your spouse

Raise your partner’s or spouse’s self-esteem.  Make them feel good by telling them, recording, or writing them “success messages.” These positive words will stick in your partner’s subconscious mind.

Sam, 25 said, “I really like it when I open my lunch box at work and find a sticky note with a smilie face from my wife.  The last note read, ‘I am proud of my hard working husband, I love you.’ That really made my day”.

4. Be a friend to yourself, nurture yourself

The old saying “If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else” is still true. Take out some time for yourself. Do things you enjoy separate from your partner.

Maybelline, 40 years old, said, “I love art.  I have taken a beginner’s class and read some DIY books. When Bert and I take trips, I find historic places to draw. Drawing gives me a peace of mind.  I like doing something that my husband has nothing to do with, but is supportive of anyway. It gives us something to talk about.”

5. Avoid power struggles

‘I am right and you are wrong’ is what power struggle means. No one likes to submit and admit that they are wrong. Power struggles cause resentments in a relationship.

Cedrick, 28 years old, said, “I love my wife Shannon but when we first met we argued all the time.  She was adamant that ‘women can do anything that a man can do’. I respect that. But I wanted to be respected too. I wanted to have a nice time and conversation without everything turning into a power struggle. We almost broke up. But then we talked about that and since then, it has been a smooth sailing.”

In conclusion, friendship is the first basic human relationship that sustains all relationships. Following these 5 steps can strengthen friendship in a marriage.

Good News: Relationship Anxiety Is Normal

You’re not weird for having anxiety, but there are some things you can do to keep it from affecting your relationship.

Whether you’re in a long-term committed relationship or fresh off a swiping session on Tinder, relationship anxiety can — and likely will — pop up at some point.

Whether it stems from lack of trust, fear of abandonment, questioning your compatibility or worrying about non-reciprocated feelings, most people experience some form of unease about the future of their partnership. The real issue arises when natural worry evolves into debilitating stress or results in self-sabotage that negatively affects your relationship.

Accepting that some anxiety is completely normal is the first step to keeping it at a manageable level.

When you begin to feel it spiral out of control — and have ripple affects that begin to hurt your relationship and your own mental health — here’s what you need to know about identifying the source and getting it under control.


“It is important to note that everyone has some relationship anxiety, and that’s to be expected,” reiterated Dr. Amanda Zayde, a clinical psychologist at the Montefiore Medical Center. “However, if you find yourself hypervigilant for clues that something is wrong, or if you experience frequent distress that impacts your daily life, please, take some time to address it. Everyone deserves to feel secure and connected in their relationships.”

Some clear signs that you’re toeing the line — or have sprinted beyond it — include “consistent emotional instability, impaired judgement, impaired impulse control, difficulty focusing and paying attention to daily tasks, feeling lovesick and sad, and a decrease in motivation, loneliness and fatigue,” says Dr. Danielle Forshee, a psychologist who specializes in relational and marital issues.

This ongoing state of mind is not only mentally exhausting and detrimental to your own wellbeing, but can ultimately lead to relationship disintegration.

“Relationship anxiety can cause people to engage in behaviors that end up pushing their partner away,” says Dr. Zayde. “For example, calling 20 times in a row, jumping to conclusions or becoming emotionally distant. It can also cause a tremendous amount of distress and distraction, as people spend hours trying to decode their partner’s behavior.”

Dr. Forshee adds, “They may obsess over their lover’s social media accounts, incessantly Google them or have their friends assist in doing some investigating. They may falsely accuse their new lover of things that they have no evidence for, or become overly clingy, all to satisfy the craving for attachment and euphoria.”

While these behaviors may result in a decrease in panic or anxiety for the moment via mini neurochemicals bursts, says Forshee, they’re only a short-term distraction. For long-term easement, you must do some deep, inner digging and then proactively work toward minimizing the anxiety. And this process starts with identifying the real reason behind why the anxiety is occurring in the first place.


“Oftentimes, relationship anxiety stems from attachment patterns that develop in early childhood,” says Zayde. “A child will develop a prototype of what to expect from others based upon their early caregiving experiences.”

She says that, depending on the accuracy and consistency of the caregiver’s response, a child will learn to either express or suppress his or her emotional and physical needs. This coping mechanism may work at the time, but it can morph into maladaptive behaviors when applied to adult, romantic relationships.

A common example of maladaptive behavior is what psychologists refer to as an enmeshed relationship, or a situation in which a parent is overly involved in a child’s life, as stated in Greenberg, Cicchetti and Cummings’ book, Attachment in the Preschool Years. This can lead to “reciprocally intrusive, controlling behavior,” and “much insecurity and distress on the part of both over real or threatened separation.”

On the flip side, for those who feel easily suffocated in a relationship, they may have had childhood experiences that caused them to become avoidant of relationships and bonding. For example, a child with an inattentive parent may learn to suppress their innate proclivity toward bonding in order to prevent heartache and feelings of rejection. As an adult, that child may have a difficult time committing to, or being vulnerable in, a relationship.

If this rings true to your experience, it may be worth digging deeper into attachment theory, which has greatly impacted the way modern psychologists and relationship experts think about relationships. You can even take a quiz to identify which type of attachment style you, and your partner, have.


In addition to your childhood, past relationships can also play a role in the way you behave in relationships.

“If you are experiencing the type of relationship anxiety where you fear being cheated on, or have lack of trust in your new admirer, this may result from previous relationship experiences that have been encoded in your brain. Our brain never forgets,” said Forshee. “Basically, your brain circuitry has become used to associating certain traits, smells, sounds and feelings with a previous lover and relationship experiences. Your brain has laid down a powerful pattern from previously learned experiences, and your brain retains traces of that circuitry, even after you’ve fallen for someone new.”

Finally, when you enter a new relationship, your body produces large amounts of powerful chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, cortisol and vasopressin. When combined, these “love chemicals,” facilitate bonding and commitment. While they make us feel highly passionate, they can also make us emotionally unstable, angsty and downright obsessed with new partners. When we’re around our partners — especially when hugging, kissing or having sex — this hormone production goes into overdrive.

“When we are away from our new love, are fearing rejection, or have been rejected, it can make it feel like we’re going through addiction withdrawal,” explained Forshee, which can result in unhealthy obsession and anxiety.


Pinpointing the root causes of your relationship anxiety is perhaps the easy part. While overcoming your anxiety may be slow-going and difficult, it can be done if you’re deliberately mindful, fully dedicated to improvement and are kind to yourself as you navigate the path ahead.

“Take some time to better understand how your early experiences have shaped your attachment style, and stay aware of ways in which you might be repeating early experiences with your current partner,” advises Zayde. “Pay attention to how often you are jumping to conclusions, and whether or not you have sufficient evidence to support your fears; oftentimes, our fears are based on past experiences, not our current relationship.”

When stressful thoughts begin to take hold, follow these expert suggestions for staying in control and helping ease anxiety:

  • Exercise. To help curb anxiety in the moment, Forshee recommends hitting the gym. Numerous studies have demonstrated that exercising increases serotonin production and release. Isolating yourself and becoming physically stagnant are the two worst things you can do, so get moving.
  • Positive self-talk. “Engage in positive-self talk rather than negative self-talk, and have a friend help remind you of better times and what the positive things are in your life now,” says Forshee. “This act assists in increasing serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of your brain right behind the frontal areas responsible for attention, judgement and impulse control.”
  • Take a step back. Forshee stresses the importance of not acting on your emotional impulses when feeling anxious. She says your brain won’t allow you to make good decisions in the heat of the moment, and you’ll most likely regret your actions shortly thereafter.
  • Find ways to relax. “If you are unable to elicit help from your support system or cannot get yourself moving, engaging in a relaxation technique such as diaphragmatic breathing may be beneficial. This will help in physiological de-escalation so you can think clearer and feel less worked up,” Forshee notes.
  • Get help. “Finally, if you find that your relationship anxiety has taken over in a manner where you feel it is out of your control — or has wreaked havoc in your life — seeking professional counseling is likely to be beneficial.”

Overcoming relationship anxiety ultimately boils down to having control over your emotions and your mental process. There’s a direct correlation between your health — and the success of your relationships — and the depth of understanding you have about yourself, your behaviors and your feelings. Take steps to identify sources of anxiety and re-route the spiral it incites today, and you may just be able to map out a new pattern for your brain to follow next time around.

7th SNAICC National Conference – Bring Them Home: Securing the rights of our children

The 7th SNAICC National Conference focused on the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to grow up safe, healthy and strong in their families and communities.

The conference theme ‘Bring Them Home: Securing the rights of our children’ served to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the Bringing them home inquiry report(link is external), which documented the stories and experiences of children forcibly removed from their families and the lasting trauma it caused for members of the Stolen Generations. The conference was an opportunity to consider the progress made since the report’s release and to explore how outcomes can be improved for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

In his opening address, Professor Mick Dodson1 reflected on the findings from the Bringing them home report, highlighting that most of its recommendations are yet to be implemented(link is external). In light of the continued over-representation of Indigenous children in out-of-home care, Professor Dodson argued that little has improved since the report’s release 20 years ago and urged for reparations2 as an appropriate response to address intergenerational trauma.

Dr Sarah Kastelic3 discussed recent initiatives(link is external) to improve the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act in the USA that call for “active efforts” to provide responsive, culturally appropriate services to support Indian families to stay together or to reunify – a message that resonated with those seeking to improve the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle in Australia. Dr Kastelic noted that ‘kinship care’ and ‘adoption’ are modern terms for traditional Indian family practices that operated prior to colonisation, and emphasised the strength and safety of culture for Indigenous families.


Self-determination was a major theme of the conference. Delegates heard from a range of presenters working on various initiatives across Australia to embed the principle of self-determination into practice. Examples include:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family-Led Decision Making initiatives that encourage family members to participate in decision making in child protection cases;
  • Partnerships between government departments, community sector organisations and Aboriginal community controlled organisations (ACCOs) to transfer greater control over services to Aboriginal people; and
  • The Marram-Ngala Ganbu (Koori Family Hearing Day) pilot program based at the Children’s Koori Court(link is external) in Victoria that encourages children and families to have their say in court proceedings.

Professor Muriel Bamblett4 said that, despite the strengthening of policies and practices over the past few decades, Aboriginal families continue to confront a range of systemic issues, including poverty, a lack of understanding about Aboriginal families within child welfare services, and the lack of coherent strategies to build Indigenous workforce capacity. Professor Bamblett reiterated the need to promote self-determination to address these issues – not just at a community level, but at an individual level.

Healing for intergenerational trauma

Healing for intergenerational trauma was another major theme of the conference, particularly in relation to ending the over-representation of Indigenous children in out-of-home care. A panel discussion, reflecting on the legacy of the Bringing them home report, repeated calls to implement its recommendations in order to help heal intergenerational trauma and promote self-determination. Richard Weston5 discussed the need to forge a different relationship between government and Indigenous organisations; one which recognises the widespread effects of the Stolen Generations and facilitates the transfer of power to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In a closing panel discussion, speakers encouraged delegates to stay the course, to bring solutions to community problems, and to develop strong partnerships with governments.

Spouse Hates Your Business? Here’s What to Do

If your spouse hates your business it means that you live an unhappy life. The reasons behind the hatred can be different, but whatever they might be, you need to resolve the problem.

For a successful relationship, both the individuals need to be able to chase their life dreams. If the job you have is something you love, then your spouse must be in line with your feelings.

Here’s what to do if your spouse hates your business:

Does it pay off?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is – does it pay off? Is it worth it to have the business and possibly lose your partner over it, and does it get you enough income to fight for it? Is it just something you like to do, or is it really paying off?

It may be that you don’t realize that your business is destroying you and your relationship. Analyze it and ask a friend or someone you trust about it. See how it looks from the third perspective.

Talk to your spouse about it

If you really think there’s nothing wrong with the business than you need to talk about it with her or him. Have a serious conversation about your job. Present the pros and cons from of it.

Show the facts about the income from your business. If you earn well, your spouse must understand that it’s good to have that business no matter they like it or not.

You can also discuss their feelings and why they hate your job? There must be a reason. It can be obvious, but sometimes it can be underlying and hidden. It might be jealousy, possessiveness, or something else. You need to find it out and have an honest talk about resolving the issues.

Include your spouse in the business

If there is a problem of this kind, such as jealousy, a good solution can be to include your spouse in your business. This way your partner will always be aware of your whereabouts.

Even if there is no such problem, it is always a good idea to give your partner responsibilities in your own business. Family-run businesses are a common thing today and appreciated by the community.

This solution will also provide more money for the family since money earned from the business will stay at home.

Pay more attention at home

The most common reason for argument among partners who have their own businesses is because they are often absent from home. This may not be the only or the real reason for your spouse to hate your business, but it can be a start for arguing, so pay attention to it.

Try to be more at home when it is possible and try to make your spouse happier when you’re together. Don’t go to unimportant meetings. Simply assign someone else you trust and use that time to make your partner happier.

Have a walk together, make love, or go out to dinner. Be a couple. Nothing more, nothing less. Your spouse will love that.

Steel Blue launches new blue boots in support of beyondblue

beyondblue is proud to partner with Steel Blue and the launch of their new Blue Boots for men and limited-edition boots for women. To date, Steel Blue has raised over $75,000 for beyondblue.

With the launch of a new range of blue leather safety boots Steel Blue is taking steps to make a difference to mental health in Austraia and support the work of beyondblue to provide advice, referral and brief counselling through their 24/7 Support Service.

With each pair of Blue Boots sold Steel Blue will donate $10 to beyondblue.

“Steel Blue believes that safety in the workplace extends beyond the physical, to mental health,” said Steel Blue’s CEO Garry Johnson. “We were really inspired by the opportunity to get involved with beyondblue and create this new product to engage our core market in a significant issue facing tradies today.”

Tough working conditions can contribute to an increased risk of anxiety and depression and suicide rates. In the transport, agriculture and construction industries, workers are about two times more likely to take their own lives than workers in other industries.

beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said Steel Blue’s contribution would go towards beyondblue’s 24/7 Support Service that provides brief counselling and referrals to more than 150,000 people each year.

“Steel Blue’s support helps beyondblue to provide people across Australia access to free, life-changing support, advice and information from trained mental health professionals,” Ms Harman said.

We are grateful to Steel Blue for the support and excited for the partnership to make a significant impact on mental health in Australia.

If you or a loved one needs support, you can contact our Support Service by calling 1300 22 4636 or visiting our website.

12 Types of Relationships That You Might Encounter

There are many different relationship types you will run into over your dating years. Some of them are fantastic bonds that will shape and change your romantic future, but others are painfully irritating reminders that the game of love has many faces. Here are the many relationship types you will cross paths with, whether you like it or not.

1. The first

Your first relationship is a special one, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time. The first serious romantic relationship you have sets up the path for how you are in relationships to follow. It teaches you what you’re good at, what areas need improvement, how you communicate, kiss, how you trust and how faithful you intend to be. Your first relationship is the beginning of everything.

2. The rebound

Different relationship types all have their own unique set of circumstances, but none quite as complicated as the rebound. The rebound occurs when you are freshly out of a serious relationship and are still nursing bruises. Your self-esteem is shot and so you pursue a relationship with someone new way too fast. You’re essentially filling time with someone to do date-like things with until the real deal comes along. This is unfair to your partner and to yourself.

3. Controlling partners

A controlling relationship is not a fun one to be a part of. Often going hand in hand with jealousy, a controlling partner wants to monitor your social media and electronic devices. They may even demand proof of where you are at any given moment. They may try to control who your friends are and how much time you spend with other people. This is an unhealthy, damaging relationship.

4. Clingy relationships

Being a clingy partner often stems from insecurities. You may not feel good enough for your mate or have dealt with broken trust in a former relationship that has carried on to your current one. This can lead to a barrage of text messages to your partner that you think seem sweet but are actually overbearing and a little annoying. Spending time together is key to maintaining a strong bond as both friends and lovers, but spending time apart is equally as important. You need to maintain your sense of self by pursuing your own friendships and hobbies outside your relationship.

5. Too independent

Opposite of the above, there is such thing as being with someone who is too independent. If you are in a serious relationship and your partner is too independent to regularly spend time with you or to consider your opinion on important matters, this can be problematic.

6. Toxic relationship?

When you’re in a relationship you should feel special, secure, and happy. This relationship type is just the opposite. A toxic relationship seems great at first and then your partner’s true colors begin to show. Signs of a toxic relationship include passive aggressive behavior, physical or verbal abuse, excessive criticism, the feeling of walking on eggshells around your mate, and a severe lack of getting back what you’re giving to your partner. What’s worse is that a toxic relationship drags down your self-worth, which makes it harder for you to leave.

7. Opposites attract

Many couples find themselves in a relationship with someone who they have fun with, love, and want to spend their life, but they have little to nothing in common. No shared hobbies or no common beliefs. Instead, their common bond is each other. This relationship can be a blessing. The opposite characteristics of both parties tend to balance the other one out and better each other.

8. Good on paper

Some relationship types happen not because you like somebody, but because you feel like you should like that person. Take the good one paper relationship, for example. You don’t necessarily have feelings for this guy, but he’s handsome, sweet, has a good job and makes you laugh. He’s total marriage material. So you date him anyway.

This relationship is usually a good one. You have a great time together, he treats you well, and your friend and family absolutely love him. But there’s just something missing; a little spark that reminds you he’s just not the one.

9. Long distance relationships

If you’re looking for relationship types that are only for the brave, look no further than the long distance relationship. You will promise yourself that it’s no big deal to live far away from the love of your life and that you guys will be the one to succeed!

10. Just in it for the sex

Call it friends with benefits, call it physical attraction, or just admit that you’re just in it for the sex. Sometimes you have chemistry with a person that is undeniable but you know in your heart that this person is not relationship material. This usually turns into a relationship where you are just using one another for sex.

11. Feels more like friendship

Opposite of the above, there are some relationships where you end up feeling more like friends than lovers. This person is the first one you would call for a fun night out and you spend enough time together that you finally started dating. You always have fun together, but when it comes to getting cozy you’d rather not.

12. The one

Finding the one is like getting a burst of butterflies in your stomach constantly. You have finally met your match – the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

You know you’ve found the one when you talk seriously about your future together, you receive positive reinforcement, you have fun together, you sacrifice for one another, you plan a future, you have trust and open communication, and you agree on the big things in life. And finally? You make one another better.

Finding the one is the most satisfying of the relationship types out there. Just remember that you have to go through a few dud relationships to find the right one for you.

Ways to Handle Your Children’s Behavior in Public

Nobody wants to end up in a smack down with their kids in the middle of the grocery store. If you are looking for a way to avoid this, read on for tips on how to handle misbehaving children in public places.

The grocery store scenario puts parents in a bad situation because the behavior does not warrant a reaction that is appropriate for the area. Many parents in this situation find themselves wondering what reaction is acceptable. You cannot have an extended conversation about why the behavior is not appropriate while walking through the grocery store, but you also cannot just let the child run rampant.

Mindfulness and meditation to your rescue

When facing difficult situations like this one, it is important that you practice mindfulness and maybe even meditation. This will help you keep your mind under control while your child’s behavior is trying to drive you crazy.

Being empathetic is another helpful tip

It is much easier and more effective to deal with your child’s behavior once you have figured out what makes them act out. Maybe your child is just bored, in which case you can find something to occupy them while you shop. Maybe they are seeking your attention. They could be hungry, thirsty, or even just tired. Once you have figured out the underlying reason your child is acting out, you will most likely know how to solve the problem and also the degree to which they should actually be punished.

Bribe them!

The easiest way to stop a child’s tantrum in the middle of the grocery store is to bribe them. The problem with this is that the bribe is your way of condoning their behavior. If they get ice cream every time they throw a tantrum then calm down for ten more minutes while you hurry out of the store, your children will believe this will happen every time you throw a tantrum. Instead of threatening or bribing your children, try empathizing, rationalizing, then not being bossy. This is often referred to as the ERN method. If you request cooperation from your children by using this method, you will find better success in both the short and long term.

Make your child empathize with you

If this does not work, you can try having your child empathize with you. You can kneel down and ask them how they think they are making you and the people around you feel by misbehaving. You may be able to guilt them into behaving this way.

Preparing them beforehand

Another helpful method is preparing your child beforehand by asking them if they can handle the responsibility of behaving during the shopping trip. If they tell you they will be still and quiet, you can remind them of what they promised they could do when they start to misbehave.

If worse comes to worst, you can always make a deal with a family member so that your child will always be cared for when you need to shop. Maybe you and your SO can alternate babysitting and grocery shopping each week.

If you are interested in more parenting advice, contact us for more information.

Are Dads as Torn Between Jobs and Family Life As Moms?

Fatherhood has reached a critical point for many dads who are caught between being an ideal employee and an ideal parent. They are asking themselves the same question working mothers have been asking for decades: Is it possible to have it all? In so many ways, dads’ struggles have caught up with moms’.

Parenting, once the sole domain of mothers, is now more equitable in terms of parents sharing the responsibility of caring for children. Today’s fathers read books on pregnancy and baby care and spend almost three times the hours a week caring for their children as they did in 1965, according to the Pew Charitable Trust. Dads are also less likely to be a household’s primary breadwinner. It’ s a welcome change that benefits everyone – especially the children.

It doesn’t seem to matter if you or the father of your children is a Millennial, Generation Xer or Baby Boomer. Researchers at the Boston College Center for Work and Family found that most dads feel torn between their jobs and their family life. Fathers want to share equally in the care of their children. The Center points out that “the old stereotype of fathers being career-centric parents and somewhat emotionally detached from family does not describe today’s fathers.”

Kristen Shockley, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Georgia, and four colleagues analyzed 350 studies involving more the 250,000 people and found that fathers and mothers feel a similar level of work-family conflict. In spite of the fact that gender roles are changing and that more mothers are in the workforce, and more men are involved in child care, men don’t openly discuss their conflict – perhaps because of the long-held conventional view of the struggling, guilt-filled working mother.

Conflict Begins Early for Dads

About 7 in 10 Americans told Pew researchers that “it’s important for new babies to have equal time to bond with their mothers and fathers.” In the book “Do Fathers Matter?” by Paul Raeburn, Michael Lamb, who is one of the primary advocates of research on fathers, says that “babies and fathers become attached in the same way – and at the same time developmentally – that mothers and babies do.” So for both parents, the pull between career demands and the commitment to raising children starts with the arrival of a child.

According to Pew, roughly half of adults think employers generally put more pressure on fathers to return to work quickly after the birth or adoption of a child. Among those who took time off to care for a new baby in the past two years, only 18 percent felt that way about employers’ pressure on mothers to return to work. That is evident given that fathers took a median of one week off, while moms took off 11 weeks to care for a newborn. And yet fathers want to be with their children: 54 percent of dads feel that parenting is “rewarding all of the time.” But Shockley’s analysis, which was reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology, reminds us that the general perception remains that work-family conflict is a woman’s issue.

When it comes to caring for a new baby, 53 percent of Americans say that, breast-feeding aside, mothers do a better job than fathers, according to Pew, with only 1 percent of Americans saying dads do a better job than moms. Nonetheless, parents’ attitudes about being a mother or father are almost identical. “Dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity.” Fifty-seven percent of fathers said so, as did 58 percent of mothers.

Conflict Begins Early for Dads

About 7 in 10 Americans told Pew researchers that “it’s important for new babies to have equal time to bond with their mothers and fathers.” In the book “Do Fathers Matter?” by Paul Raeburn, Michael Lamb, who is one of the primary advocates of research on fathers, says that “babies and fathers become attached in the same way – and at the same time developmentally – that mothers and babies do.” So for both parents, the pull between career demands and the commitment to raising children starts with the arrival of a child.

According to Pew, roughly half of adults think employers generally put more pressure on fathers to return to work quickly after the birth or adoption of a child. Among those who took time off to care for a new baby in the past two years, only 18 percent felt that way about employers’ pressure on mothers to return to work. That is evident given that fathers took a median of one week off, while moms took off 11 weeks to care for a newborn. And yet fathers want to be with their children: 54 percent of dads feel that parenting is “rewarding all of the time.” But Shockley’s analysis, which was reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology, reminds us that the general perception remains that work-family conflict is a woman’s issue.

When it comes to caring for a new baby, 53 percent of Americans say that, breast-feeding aside, mothers do a better job than fathers, according to Pew, with only 1 percent of Americans saying dads do a better job than moms. Nonetheless, parents’ attitudes about being a mother or father are almost identical. “Dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity.” Fifty-seven percent of fathers said so, as did 58 percent of mothers.

If we can change people’s attitudes and stop thinking of the work-family conflict as strictly a mother’s problem, then we can view – and accept – mothers and fathers as equally challenged. At that point, there will be hope that both men and women can have it all.


The transition from out-of-home care and offending behaviours

Young people leaving out-of-home care are one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups of young Australians. In addition to difficult experiences of abuse and neglect, they face a sudden transition to independence at their 18thbirthday when state and territory governments cease to have responsibility for their care and protection.

While the majority of children in care do not offend, young people involved with child protection and out-of-home care systems are over-represented in youth justice systems(link is external). While few Australian studies have looked specifically at offending among care leavers during late adolescence and early adulthood (between 16 to 21 years), we know that care leavers are at a higher risk of offending and having contact with the youth justice system for a number of reasons. These include:

  • Adolescence is the peak risk time for offending behaviour(link is external) from a life course perspective. At a population level, the amount of crime committed increases with age until around 16 to 20 years, and then decreases throughout adulthood. The same is true for an individual young person, who after early adulthood is most likely to commit less crime as he or she gets older.
  • Harmful childhood events such as the abusive and neglectful experiences of many care leavers increase this risk of offending throughout adolescence.
  • Placement in residential care, which generally only occurs in mid to late adolescence, carries an increased risk(link is external) of criminal justice system involvement. Although placement in residential care can be a sign of pre-existing behavioural difficulties among these young people, residential care environments also contribute to young people offending and coming into contact with the criminal justice system because of:
    • the co-location of groups of similarly-vulnerable young people who may expose one another to new offending behaviours (known as cross-pollination); and
    • the adoption of criminal justice system responses to challenging behaviours in residential care units (known as criminalisation).  For example, a young person may damage a wall in the unit when upset, and police, who are contacted by unit staff, then charge the young person with criminal damage.
  • Lastly, the early and forced transition to independence for this group of young people expose them to additional pressures not experienced by young people who are not in care.  Many young people leave care to unsuitable situations such as homelessness or return to families previously deemed unable to provide appropriate care.

What can be done to reduce the risk of offending and youth justice system involvement?

This question is the subject of ongoing debate and research but studies suggest a number of promising strategies that might help divert care leavers from ongoing involvement in the criminal justice system. These include:

  • Developing state-wide interagency agreements to reduce the contact of young people in residential care with police and the criminal justice system1
  • Increasing the availability of therapeutic environments for this group of young people,particularly in the out-of-home care and youth justice systems
  • Enhancing supports for care leavers, and increasing the age of leaving care – international findings from the US have found the risk of offending is lowered for youth who receive ongoing support(link is external).

In 2017, these issues and approaches are gaining increasing research, advocacy and policy attention. Examples include the increasing number of therapeutic out-of-home care placements nationally, national Home Stretch Campaign(link is external) to increase the age of leaving out-of-home care from 18 to 21 years, and the establishment of the New South Wales joint protocol(link is external) to reduce the contact of young people in residential out-of-home-care with the criminal justice system.