Families experiencing separation can now access one-on-one phone-based parenting education at Centacare.

Free courses are available to support parents and children to navigate challenges at home arising from changes in their family.

In response to COVID-19, the courses have transitioned to a telephone-based model run in hour-long sessions.  The number of sessions required to complete each course varies.

Participants can phone Centacare on 8215 6700 to book into the following courses:

 

Bringing Up Great Kids

Encourage parenting practices that build competence, optimism and capability in children.

4 x 1 hour sessions

 

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

Develop strategies to communicate effectively with your children and truly hear what they are trying to tell you.

Explore realistic expectations and set boundaries to nurture resilience in your child

1 x 1 hour session

 

Inside Their Heads

What’s happening for today’s teens?

Learn more about adolescent brain development, how to set boundaries, and communication that encourages two-way respect and understanding.

1 x 1 hour session

 

Keeping Families Safe: Picking up the pieces after domestic violence

Children hear and see domestic violence too. What do children learn from this, and how do they experience domestic violence?

Learn strategies to support your children’s ongoing wellbeing and nurture their sense of safety and self.

1 x 1 hour session

 

What To Do When Kids Push Your Buttons

Identify triggers and understand what is behind your child’s behaviour.

Learn how to defuse the behaviour and respond calmly by adjusting your own beliefs, expectations and assumptions to regain your child’s cooperation and respect.

3 x 1 hour sessions

 

Developing Resilience

Develop your child’s ability to cope with disappointment and bounce back from challenging situations. Learn the five building blocks of resilience and how to nurture their self-esteem.

1 x 1 session

 

Circle of Security – THIS WILL COMMENCE SOON

An internationally recognised program that focusses on building attachment security. Children with secure attachment have increased empathy and self-esteem; better relationships with parents and peers; enhanced school readiness and an increased capacity to handle their emotions.

To enrol in a parenting course and make a phone appointment for one-on-one education, please phone Centacare 8215 6700.

 

Coaches can bring out the best of us in life and sport but they can also be influential voices on the home front.

Co-parent coaches are increasingly being sought by couples as they grapple with the challenge of shared parenting after separation and divorce.

Ceri Bruce is a Senior Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner at Centacare and supports parents to overcome factors that impinge on their ability to work together while living apart.

“Co-parent coaching does not involve delving into past behaviours or individual issues but rather assists parents to identify what it is that is blocking the co-parent alliance,’’ Ceri said.

“We assist them to try out new ways with specific behaviour strategies, or to change flawed thinking that is preventing them from reaching their family goals.’’

Parents accessing Centacare’s Family Dispute Resolution service can be referred to Co-Parenting Coaching and are coached over one-hour sessions, with a focus on respectful decision-making in the best interests of their child.

“The intention is always for children to get the best possible version of separation from both families in both households,’’ Ceri said.

“Sometimes it’s just about helping the parents communicate when they might not want to or think that they don’t need to.

“Our role is to help them separate themselves from their own needs and intent, in order to focus on what’s best for the child.’’

Together, parents are encouraged to set clear and consistent boundaries and practices that work in both homes, creating a sense of stability, security and safety for their children.

“Children benefit because they develop meaningful attachment with both parents as well as significant family members, which is crucial for their overall wellbeing,’’ Ceri said.

“Parents also learn strategies for self-care, and we see them grow in confidence from that.’’

ABS data shows there were 49,404 divorces granted nationally in 2018 – nearly half involved children. Of those divorces, the median duration of marriage was 12.3 years.

In family law cases, separating couples must make a genuine effort to resolve parenting and financial issues through dispute resolution before they can apply to the courts for orders.

In addition to co-parent coaching, Centacare offers child inclusive family dispute resolution, where appropriate, to ensure the voice of the child is heard in a safe and supported manner during parenting negotiations.

Ceri said family dispute resolution is an often quicker, more collaborative and more affordable option for resolving parenting disputes and reaching agreements about how property is divided.

Case Study

A couple, aged in their early 30s, experience a difficult separation. Communication continues to be a significant stumbling block, as it was throughout their relationship.

They attempt Family Dispute Resolution but find it difficult to reach and maintain effective agreements around parenting.

Through the service, they are referred to a Co-Parent Coach who supports them to identify the areas that are contributing to breakdowns in their communication.

They embrace new strategies to better manage their individual emotional reactions.

The parents report improved interactions with the other. Their children comment that they feel more at ease now when both parents are present as there is less tension and more amicable communication between the two.

The parents continue to seek the support of their coach until they are satisfied they have significantly strengthened their co-parenting alliance.

For more information about Centacare’s Family Dispute Resolution service, including Co-Parent Coaching, please contact Centacare on 8215 6700 or Centacare South East on 8303 6630 or email enquiries@centacare.org.au. Explore our range of Family Dispute Resolution services and locations including Mount Gambier HERE.

Navigating separation and divorce is not easy. There are many decisions to be made around finances, property and parenting. Centacare’s Post-Separation Parenting Course can support you to better understand and manage changes in your family.

 

Parenting after a relationship ends can be both daunting and challenging.

Parents may feel isolated and low in confidence as they adjust to their family’s new circumstances.

They may also struggle to communicate with one another in a non-adversarial way, and be challenged by their children’s behaviour.

Centacare South East offers a free three-hour post-separation parenting workshop for clients of its Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) service to guide separated parents through change.  This workshop is also available at a small fee for parents not accessing the FDR service.

At the workshop, parents can:

  • Share with others what is different now that their family has changed
  • Learn what their children need
  • Develop strategies to communicate respectfully with the other parent
  • Identify what gets in the way of working with the other parent
  • Explore the development needs of children

The focus of the workshop is on post-separation parenting and how to best support children through this challenging time in a positive manner.  A separated couple will need to attend separate sessions.

It is not designed for adults to resolve their personal experiences of grief or anger related to the end of their relationship.

As bookings are essential, please contact Centacare on 8303.6630.  Alternatively, expressions of interest may be directed to fdr@centacare.org.au

 

Case study

The split

Sam* and Gill* had shared three children and a decade of memories when their marriage ended.

Both blamed one another for the demise of their relationship.

Focussed on how one had made the other feel, they were preoccupied with resentment and humiliation.

Sam and Gill commenced Family Dispute Resolution with Centacare.

Gill’s story

Though she worried about the impact of their separation on the children, Gill’s primary focus was on herself – and never having to speak to Sam again.

At intake, the Centacare Family Dispute Resolution practitioner suggested some self-care strategies and asked Gill how the children were managing, given the level of hostility between their parents.

It made Gill stop and think: If she was finding it so hard to cope, how were the children faring?

She wanted to be there for them but worried about parenting alone, so she took her practitioner’s advice and enrolled in Centacare’s Post Separation Parenting Course.

Sam’s story

Sam cited `growing apart’ as the reason for the separation.

His priority was on moving forward towards a new life – without Gill in it.

Sam’s initial thoughts revolved around his new life. However, in speaking with the Family Dispute Resolution practitioner at intake, he became curious about how his children might cope with this new direction and resolved to support them more.

He too commenced the Post Separation Parenting Course.

Sharing responsibility

The course gave each parent a new perspective on their separation and the important place that each has in their children’s lives.

When the day of the joint mediation session arrived after both parents had attended a post-separation parenting course, Sam and Gill chatted amicably in the same waiting area.

Asked by the practitioner what had led to their change of heart, they explained they now saw their separation in a new light.

Previously, they had not been able to see past their own feelings to recognise their children’s needs.

However, undertaking the course had shown them the importance of putting their children first.

After the course, each had contacted the other citing a desire to work together as co-parents for the sake of their son and daughters.

Discussions continued in a child-focussed, cooperative manner.

A parenting plan was reached and both parents made a full commitment to their children.

Gill and Sam continue to build a strong co-parenting alliance based on mutual respect and understanding – driven by the needs of their children.

 

Asking a child what they want for breakfast can be all that it takes.

They react as if the world is over, throwing themselves to the floor and sparking mutual fury – all in a split second.

Whether you’re a parent of a toddler or teen, you know the feeling.

So how do you control your own reaction in order to defuse the behaviour that set you off?

‘What to do When Kids Push Your Buttons’ is a workshop for parents experiencing separation who find it difficult to stay calm when confronted by particular behaviours.

The child might refuse to go to bed or eat their dinner. Perhaps they throw a tantrum when asked to pick up a toy, turn off their device, or hop in the car.

“It’s all age groups and not just really young children; teens often push our buttons too,’’ said Clare Bowyer, Educator and Counsellor at Centacare.

Based on the work of parenting specialist Bonnie Harris, the workshop supports parents to probe their own buttons, where they come from and how we can step back and respond rather than react.

“A child might swear at you,’’ said Clare, “but if you react to that and say `how dare you?’ the situation is likely to escalate.

“If you look at it from another perspective, and don’t take their comment personally, you will likely see they are having a problem, not being a problem.

“Usually the child is angry about something. It’s about looking for the root of the behaviour rather than just what we see on the surface.’’

Parents learn how to respond calmly and effectively by looking at their own beliefs, expectations and assumptions, and adjusting them accordingly to regain their child’s cooperation and respect.

For more information about this course, please phone Centacare on 8215 6700.

A fading photocopied poem is surrounded by scores of baby photos on the pinboard at Hannah Place.

The words about what makes a mum special speak loudly to Social Worker Fatima Krivdic.

The poem, she says, is a reminder of what most of us have but what others go without – sometimes for their whole lives.

The love a mother shares, the many little thoughtful things that show how much she cares…

When you’re little she protects you, she tucks you in at night, and when she knows you’re ready she steps aside, but still she watches over you with tender loving pride.

“Our clients didn’t have this and we endeavour to work alongside them to provide this for their children,’’ Fatima says.

“We will always go the extra mile to support them, even if we don’t always support the choices they make.’’

Fatima is a founding staff member of Hannah Place where young women under the Guardianship of the Minister who are pregnant and parenting, and require support to bond with and care for their baby, can stay until the age of 18.

Most clients have spent their formative years in and out of foster homes or residential care facilities due to unresolved family crisis, childhood trauma and other complexities such as mental health, sexual violence, and drug use.

Located at Pooraka, Hannah Place opened eight years ago. In 2018/2019, the service has supported 48 young women and their children.

“It’s somewhere they can call home for the first time ever in their life,’’ Fatima says.

“What we love about this place is that we can hug them, we can laugh and cry and get angry with them, and we do – we do all those things.’’

Under a case management framework, clients are supported to develop their parenting capacity and mother/child attachment and, if their child has been removed from their care, to work towards reunification.

“Developmentally the mum might be seven but chronologically she’s 15, so essentially she’s a child trying to parent without a positive template of her own,’’ Fatima says.

“The mother loves the baby but love, sadly, is not enough to raise a child.’’

Outreach support is offered to clients until they are aged 19 but the door at Hannah Place is always open.

“All of them at some point will call just to say hello or to share an achievement with us, or they will come back here if they’re hungry or need somewhere to go, because trust is a huge thing,’’ Fatima says.

On Sunday, staff will host a Mother’s Day lunch for the six women and four children currently living at Hannah Place.

“It will be a big day for sure, not just looking forwards but looking backwards, because 99 per cent of them don’t have any supportive figures in their life, let alone a mother,’’ says Ellen Massie, Youth Support Worker.

“They love to be recognised and acknowledged for the work that they are doing.

“Sometimes they don’t believe us because they’ve never heard that in the past.

“So we praise them every day and look for the positives, not just on Mother’s Day.’’

Fatima Krivdic, left, and Ellen Massie.

National Families Week begins today. To celebrate the vital role that families play in the community, we will be highlighting some of the many ways Centacare supports families to thrive. Today we look at our Children’s Services Unit which celebrates the diversity in community and believes in providing families with opportunities.

 

Each year, Centacare’s Children’s Services Unit (CSU) provides support to about 340 families and 600 children across metropolitan Adelaide, the Murraylands, Mount Gambier, and the Riverland.

We aim to build parenting capacity that is sustained long-term through the provision of family supports, therapeutic interventions, the development of parenting and relationship skills and connection to community resources.

We work with families to identify and harness their strengths, build confidence and address challenges. These may include drug and alcohol misuse, mental health, domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, and abuse and neglect.

Our multidisciplinary teams consist of social workers, nurses, counsellors, therapists, administration, management and leadership.

“We work with vulnerable families to create sustained change; even the most marginal family deserves supports,’’ says Leanne Haddad, Executive Manager.

“The rewards are invaluable when families can stay together in a safe and supported environment.’’

We offer a number of programs for families, children and young people, from parenting groups, to home visiting programs, family support services, targeted intervention, specialist dad support, family preservation, reunification programs and specialist foster care services.

Staff work with the families to identify risks and target support to mitigate challenges impacting their capacity to parent.

“Therapy is provided alongside in-home supports to families,’’ Leanne says. “This is a crucial element that can lead to sustained change. The therapy addresses the underlying factors that often cause the at-risk behaviours.’’

How we can support you

Click on the links to explore our CSU programs and services

Join us this Wednesday, May 2, in Elder Park at a candlelight vigil to remember all women and children who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence.

​Events are being held across Australia this week in a mark of national remembrance.

The hour-long Adelaide vigil organised by the Coalition of Women’s Domestic Violence Services of South Australia, will begin at the Elder Park rotunda, on the southern bank of the River Torrens, at 5.30pm.

Everyone can play a part in raising awareness of domestic violence and an understanding of warning signs of abuse to support women and children at risk.

As part of the Power to End Violence Against Women education program, Port Adelaide Football Club joined Centacare at last year’s vigil.

http://www.portadelaidefc.com.au/video/2017-05-08/hartlett-speaks-on-domestic-violence-ptv

The impact of drug use is felt across generations – many young and older people using methamphetamine are parents too.

Centacare’s Kids in Focus (KIF) service supports parents and carergivers who are misusing alcohol and/or other drugs. The team has made this video to illustrate how children can be affected by their parents’ lifestyle.

 

My world from Centacare on Vimeo.

 

Based in the northern suburbs, KIF is a home visiting service and uses child-focused interventions to increase parenting capacity, build healthy relationships between parents and their children, and provide safe family environments.

Parents and caregivers may be more susceptible to substance misuse if they have experienced intergenerational and multiple complex trauma, including mental health, family violence and homelessness.

Children in these families are vulnerable and at risk of accumulative chronic childhood neglect and abuse, leading to long-term behaviour and developmental issues and concerns.

Many parents have never known a nurturing, stable environment and, often, do not allow themselves to see the impact of their drug use on their children.

This includes a lack of play and educational opportunities, unrealistic expectations of the child – including the responsibility for caring for other siblings – developmental delays and mental health.

When parents and caregivers use methamphetamine, children often do not have basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter, and they frequently lack adequate supervision and medical care.

Our KIF team works in partnership with families to strengthen relationships, address drug addiction and assist parents to maintain a clear focus on the well-being of children.

 

 

 

Going back to school is not just daunting for little ones – older students can feel anxious too. Our parenting educators have put together some tips for parents of young people starting high school this year.

 

Many young people find starting secondary school a time of mixed emotions.

While they may feel excitement, fear, confusion and have a sense of curiosity and adventure, most will admit that starting a new school experience can be a bit scary.

They may feel lost and confused, miss their primary school friends and worry about fitting in.

Adjusting to these differences and their new learning environment can be challenging.

Secondary schools are much bigger, anonymous places than primary school where everyone knows your name. New school routines and unfamiliar classrooms and teachers add an extra dynamic.

Friendship circles change and even established bonds can be challenged in high school, as students tackle one of the primary developmental tasks of establishing identity.

Signs your child is not coping may include:

  • Irritability
  • A short-temper
  • Being disagreeable or rebellious
  • Withdrawing from family
  • Refusing to go to school
  • Articulating stress through tummy pains and headaches

While children may exhibit some of these behaviours regardless of the onset of a new school year, if these signs persist after the first few weeks of term, it’s time to speak to the school to help address the source of stress.

It is equally important that parents look after their own well being too. Remember, this can be a stressful and confusing time for you also, as you juggle work, family and other commitments, and try and figure out how much support to offer your child.

Here are some favourite pieces of parental advice drawn from our parenting groups over the years:

  • Remember that despite their emerging sophistication, students still need to hear you say you love, approve of and support them
  • Provide reassurance by normalising some of the confused and unsure feelings and perhaps share your own high school experience
  • Celebrate their strengths: they need to be reminded of what they do well while they tackle challenges
  • Be a supportive listener and don’t give advice too quickly: help them problem-solve and encourage thinking for themselves
  • Be patient while your student tackles the challenges of first year high school and remember that being organised is usually a learned skill
  • Get to know the school community – other parents can be your best resource.

 

What is your happiest childhood memory?

Centacare parenting educator Kay Buckley recalls the freedom of growing up in the ‘50s – and crossing one of the nation’s busiest thoroughfares on her 2km walk to school each day.

“I lived in Sydney and I’d cross the Hume Highway – without traffic lights, on my own, at six! That was normal back then.

“In the 1980s when I was bringing up my own kids, we lived on a fruit block and they’d be gone from morning ’til night. Now most parents are reluctant to let their kids walk to the end of the street.’’

As parents become increasingly confused about what children can and cannot do, young people’s resilience – and their freedom to learn and grow – is gradually being eroded and replaced with fear, Kay says.

Our fears are often unlikely but our fears are likely to become more likely if we don’t skill our kids up
Kay Buckley, parenting educator

 

In response, Centacare is encouraging parents to use practices that build competence, optimism and capability. Allowing children to take some risks also helps to nurture resilience and persistence, Kay says.

“Our fears are often unlikely but our fears are likely to become more likely if we don’t skill our kids up.

“Children have always been able to take risks and if we don’t let them take little ones incrementally, with some scaffolding and support around them, then there’s a certain inevitability about what they may do as adolescents.

“We complain that our children can’t do anything or won’t do anything, but we don’t give them life skills and freedom because we do everything for them. We don’t coach them anymore; we stand there clapping on the sidelines. We should be giving them instruction.’’

Kay’s 12 ingredients of competence:
  • Offer opportunities for initiative and autonomy at an early age
  • Help build confidence by partialising challenges
  • Stop lecturing, testing and drilling
  • Reinforce your child’s excitement about achievements
  • Recognise effort rather than outcome
  • Create an environment where mistakes are accepted
  • Stop rescuing your child
  • Teach the language of optimism and persistence
  • Model positive self-talk
  • Help children manage strong emotions
  • Affirm your child’s ability to impact their world
  • Encourage responsibility, good judgement and persistence
To nurture resilience in children, Kay recommends:
  • Exposure to healthy role models
  • Discover a sense of spirituality
  • Support them to develop life skills
  • Recognise islands of competence
  • Promote positive self-talk

 

 

 

Centacare

Meeting the Challenge

Centacare Catholic Family Services is a Catholic welfare organisation delivering a range of services across the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.

Client Services

45 Wakefield Street Adelaide SA 5000
T 08 8215 6700
E enquiries@centacare.org.au

Opening Hours

Monday – Tuesday | 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Thursday | 9am – 9pm
Friday | 9am – 5pm

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