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Parenting is for life!

Parenting is both a wonderful and a challenging experience that can put a great deal of pressure on relationships. It is the most important responsibility people undertake and a loving and supportive relationship helps parents face the challenges of child rearing.

As babies develop into toddlers, then young children and then teenagers and finally adults, it becomes clear that parenting is one of the most demanding jobs a person can do.

There is no simple guidebook on how to be a good parent, so parents are often left struggling, wondering if they are doing the right thing or whether they are being too easy or too hard on their children.  Parents can disagree about the best way to raise children.

Contrary to what many people believe, parenting is not instinctive or automatic - effective parenting is learned.

Acknowledging that you as a parent are having difficulty with your children is a first step in finding a better way.

Asking for help can give you different options and make parenting easier and more enjoyable once you have mastered some new skills.  Learning relationship skills will help you to build a successful partnership as parents.

Parents who are separated remain parents, and their children benefit if they can co-operate.

How violence and abusive behaviour affects children

The forgotten victims of family violence are often the children. Even if the children are not physically abused themselves, they will often witness or hear or see the signs of abuse.  Many children witnessing violence are scared of the abuser, and will often exhibit problems such as 'acting out', problems at school, and many other symptoms.

Besides being traumatised, these children are much more likely to be abusive in their own relationships when they are older, as that is what they have had modelled to them in their own family.

How Relationships Australia can help you

Pre-Parenthood Relationship Check-Up Service This service provides sessions with a counsellor to give your relationship a 'check-up' and discuss ways to strengthen it. There is also a questionnaire, booklet to take home and read, and a seminar that helps you prepare your relationship for the demands of parenting.

Counselling is available to parents to assist them with difficulties they may have with parenting. This can include reading material to help parents, to increase their awareness of issues faced by children and how to respond to them.

Family Dispute Resolution Services (family mediation) are available to assist parents to resolve conflict that affects children and this can include development of parenting plans. The wishes of children can be heard directly as part of the family dispute resolution process.

Education and Family Skills - Parenting Courses may be useful for parents at any time during their parenting years .

Relationships Australia employs therapists who specialise in working with children and leading groups for children who have witnessed domestic violence.

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