Woodridge, Berrinba East and Kingston State Schools have all signed on to be among the first in Queensland to become Talking Families schools, an innovative program to support their families.
The Talking Families initiative was developed by the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) to normalise help-seeking behaviour among parents after research showed that almost 72 per cent of Queensland parents worried about being judged if they struggled with parenting and 76 per cent avoided telling others outside their family.
Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said all parents know how challenging it can be at times caring for kids but it’s not always easy to ask for help with parenting. “We want parents to know they don’t have to put on a brave face and that it’s okay to talk to people around them,” Ms Vardon said.
“Everyone struggles from time to time and it can be hard to ask for help so it is important that communities come together to help normalise conversations around seeking help. We know that children thrive when parents are supported, and having Talking Families schools can help break down those barriers.”
The Talking Families School initiative is a partnership between the QFCC and Family and Child Connect and their Local Level Alliance to work with schools to build a supportive community and help families access help when they need it.
Logan Local Level Alliance Coordinator Finn Murphy said the alliance, made up of non-government and government services, is pleased to see the Talking Families school initiative kick off in Logan. “We’re really excited to be partnering with Woodridge, Berrinba East and Kingston State Schools in this initiative because it’s about community — having a sense of belonging and bringing people together to help each other,” Ms Murphy said.
Woodridge State School Principal Garry Molloy said the school had chosen to launch its Talking Families School initiative with its Harmony Day celebrations on 5 April. “Woodridge is a multicultural and diverse community, so it’s fitting we launch our Talking Families school initiative on this day because it’s about school, parents and community working together so our children learn and grow,” Mr Molloy said.
Berrinba East State School Principal Stephen Kanowski and Kingston State School Principal Stephanie Crick also agree. “We care about our school community and it’s important to us that our families feel supported, and as a collective, we can make a positive impact on our children’s learning development. And that’s why we’re proud to be Talking Families Schools,” Mr Kanowski said.
Support is available for Logan families, and helpful tips for parents about how to start the conversation to ask for support can be found on www.talkingfamilies.qld.gov.au or the Talking Families Facebook community.
- Almost three-quarters of parents (72%) worry that others will see them unfavourably when they struggle with parenting.
- 76% avoid telling others outside their immediate family when are struggling.
- Female parents were more likely to experience a higher perception of stigma when struggling with parenting.
- Young parents aged 18 to 34 years, those who parent on their own and those with at least one child with a disability also experienced higher perception of stigma.
- Over half of the parents surveyed (64%) felt uncomfortable when confiding in a family member.
- One in 10 (11%) of parents did not have a family member to confide in.
- Only 30% of parents felt they lived in a close-knit community.
- 53% of Queensland parents admitted that they had been in a situation where they found it hard to cope with the stress of being a parent.
- Of those, 81% felt that way at least once in the last month, including 5% who felt this way every day.