Where have all the parents gone?
I've been liaising with many community members this past year through my project Tassie Teen, and at times I've had to ask myself, where have all the parents gone? Remembering how I came to this project, I'm humbly reminded that many of us work so very hard and at such a fast pace these days, that it is easy to become distracted, consumed, and overwhelmed, if not repelled, by our information technology-rich world.
Love it or hate it, it's here to stay, and many of us are challenged to navigate this environment – particularly our youth. Many, rather than feeling empowered, are falling through the cracks, and anything that we can do to bridge these gaps is beneficial.
I am grateful to Huon Valley Council, who recently gave local families the opportunity to hear from leading parent educator and author Steve Biddulph. Steve tells me this is the first time he has spoken in the Valley in his career of over 30 years. As he is a Tasmanian resident, this surprised me. I hope this is the beginning of a sustained community conversation about
the wellbeing of our youth.
Steve presented over two evenings, discussing raising boys on the first, and raising girls the next. It was really heartening to see a room, full of engaged parents, many with children under ten, and yet already aware of the emerging trends in youth mental health.
As a parent of several teenagers who has actively sought engagement beyond the Huon on these issues, it is reassuring to see parents responding to the need for engagement sooner. Millennials have thus far been largely mislead or unguided. There is much more we can do about this. (It is however, very pleasing to see the research, leadership and direction being invested in this by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, ARACY, and the Peter Underwood Centre.)
Steve shared a warm and encouraging presentation, and has a gift for storytelling, notwithstanding some of the disappointing truths he shared. Whilst most of his career has focused on raising boys, he expresses great concern for the sexualised landscape our girls are being raised in today. His latest book is titled
Ten Things Girls Most Need.
I hope there will be more emboldened community conversations in future, not just in the Huon but in all of Tasmania, as leadership is required to empower future generations.
A warm thanks to the families who attended this event and to the council for encouraging and providing this important platform.
Ines Carver
Tassie Teen

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