June 28, 2010

Aboriginal Women's Corroboree 2010

On Friday the 23rd of June I spoke at the "Women's Corroboree 2010", I spoke of my journey and my experiences with domestic violence both as a child and an adult. On my journey I took many paths that weren't always the best choice, I was a teenage mum and dabbled in drugs for a while. Any way the point of my story is I got through at all and speak now, not for sympathy, but to show others there is always light at the end of the tunnel and you can pick yourself up and move on.
The day was well organised by Waringa Baiya and Enough is Enough was very pleased to participate. This day gave us an opportunity to network not only with Indigenous Services but also to network with the Indigenous community. The day was also special for me as I had my 16 year old daughter in the audience who was alongside me throughout my journey.

- by Kimi Alcott, EIE Cultural Coordinator, Presenter & Aboriginal Artist
To keep up to date with our news, new articles and current events connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our E-Newsletter.
For information about Enough is Enough Anti Violence Movement visit: www.enoughisenough.org.au

June 23, 2010

Domestic Violence –it’s Not On

Domestic Violence is not acceptable in any community. We need to address all issues, not only attend to and support the victim’s but also work with the perpetrators to change their offending behaviours. This problem needs a holistic approach otherwise the cycle of violence will continue. We need more programs for men to assist them in change.
If we want change we need to change our methods and to work with both parties, obviously what we have been doing in the past has not worked so we need to find programs that do work and support these. As they say if we keep doing the same thing we get the same results. The Enough is Enough Anti-Violence Movement runs programs for men who want to change and women who want to change their circumstances.
No excuse for violence, says Aboriginal leader
By Adele Horin   
November 23, 2005

The indigenous leader and ALP vice-president, Warren Mundine, has rebuked Aboriginal men for the horrific level of domestic violence in many communities.
He said bashing women was not part of traditional Aboriginal culture, and he was tired of the excuses men made for their behaviour, including blaming alcohol, and problems at home.
"I'm tired of hearing Aboriginal men say they bashed their wife because white fellows took our country," he said yesterday. "Now that really [teaches] the white fellows a lesson."
Mr Mundine is one of dozens of prominent men to be appointed "ambassadors" by UNIFEM, the UN development fund for women, in a campaign to eliminate violence against women. Culminating in White Ribbon Day on Friday, the campaign has featured controversial TV advertising, and is part of the biggest effort by men across the world, in partnership with women, to end domestic violence. Speaking at an event attended by the rugby league players Benji Marshall, Dene Halatau, and Robbie Farrah, Mr Mundine called on Aboriginal men to "stand up and make a difference".
He said he was part of a community where the statistics for domestic violence were "the worst of the worst", with women in some Queensland Aboriginal communities at 24 times the average risk of being raped.
A recent survey of 6600 women by the Australian Institute of Criminology found 10 per cent of Australian women had experienced male physical or sexual violence the previous year, and almost 60 per cent had experienced it over their life-time. A study last year by VicHealth found that for women younger than 45, violence contributed more to their poor health and death than factors such as smoking and obesity.
Mr Mundine said part of the problem was that violence towards women appeared to be acceptable.
Referring to a barbeque he attended in Dubbo a few years ago, he said: "I was talking to some men about domestic violence and what really shocked me was they could suck a beer and eat a sausage sandwich and talk about slapping their wives and girlfriends around as if they were talking about the weather."
Women were the backbone of Aboriginal families, he said, and the communities would suffer if the women were "kicked in the guts day after day".
Another "ambassador," the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, said he had been shocked by statistics that showed reported rates of domestic assault had increased by 50 per cent in NSW over seven years.
Irfan Yusuf, a lawyer and columnist for the Australian Islamic Review, called on imans to cease lecturing "models on what sort of dress they should wear" and instead lecture men on how they should treat women. Terry Melvin, manager of Mensline Australia, a telephone counselling service, said 10 per cent of calls were about violence. Many men identified themselves as perpetrators, concerned about their behaviour.
"It's great to raise community awareness," he said of the Federal government's $20 million 'Australia Says No' media campaign. "But you need comprehensive behaviour change programs on the ground."
This article runs true to my way of thinking. Many times when talking of my experiences, others I speak to have had the same ordeals, which is really sad. I don’t want our next generation experiencing the same.
The movie ‘Once Were Warriors’ was a brilliant movie and actually showed the reality of the more violent Domestic Violence incidents. What others viewed as horrific and unrealistic was something that myself and many of my fellow people witnessed on many occasions, and suffered both as a victim and the child of a victim.
I remember putting the pillow over my head at night and singing to myself to drown out the sound of my Mum being bashed. I tell my Mum’s story now along with my own not to get sympathy as a victim. To thrive on being resilient and lifting myself from that situation and following a positive journey to thrive on helping others. Has enhanced both my own life and the lives of those around me.
by Kimi Alcott, EIE Cultural Coordinator

To keep up to date with our news, new articles and current events connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our E-Newsletter.
For information about Enough is Enough Anti Violence Movement visit: www.enoughisenough.org.au

June 16, 2010

Road Trauma

Yesterday I was in my local RTA office to register my car and as I waited (and waited) I noticed how many young people were coming in to get their L’s. This sent a shiver up my spine, as I have a teenage son that in a couple of years will be getting his L’s.
All these kids looked young and happy, I thought”do you know what could happen out on the road”? Unfortunately being cursed with a super memory I can remember when I got my licence. How invincible you felt, I never felt scared driving until something went wrong.
Something did go wrong in a big way, the night my friend Lisa’s boyfriend decided not to drink and drive four of us girls home to my house.
We made it to my house, got out and he asked if he could come inside, my girlfriend said no as it was girls only. So he hoped back into his new four door hatch and took off for home or so we thought. The next morning we got a phone call asking if it was true that David was dead, WHAT? We had only seen him eight hours ago, he couldn’t be dead. He was a young good looking guy who had an apprenticeship and a new car, he was Lisa’s boyfriend, he couldn’t be dead.
This started a frenzy of phone calls, tears and guilt trips. What had happened? Why didn’t he just stay here? Why did we make him leave? We couldn’t get confirmation on the phone, we had to go to the local police station and ask in person. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is driving Lisa to the police station to ask if her boyfriend was dead.
Yes he was. He had been speeding down the highway, he had left my house and gone home the long way. He couldn’t negotiate a bend in the road, came off the highway and hit a tree at high speed. The police said he died instantly, as his car was compacted to less than a metre high.
Later that day we went and put flowers beside the tree that had stopped his car. The car had finally been moved but we found cassette tapes, hats and other pieces of a life that no longer existed. To this day my friend still carries a guilt around over his death, all those what if’s and no answers.
In Australia 1464 people died in car accidents in 2008. That is a lot of grieving family & friends. Speed, alcohol and fatigue are the major contributors but human error and driver inexperience also play a part.
I’m still waiting at the RTA , I’m thinking I just won’t let my son drive, but that won’t work either, he’ll still be a passenger in a young drivers vehicle. So wouldn’t it be better to teach him how to be responsible driver, how to respect the road and all on it. To give him the confidence to say to mates “hey slow down”.
I feel slightly better now, at least I have an idea of what to do, it’s not as scary as I first thought and my number has been called to the counter.
I’ve finally worked out why they have such long waiting times at the RTA, to give us time to reflect on our driving and work out that a licence is a privilege not a right.
by Kim Simpson, EIE

Receive our e-News

Email Address*

* Indicates field is required.

June 10, 2010

How You Parent?

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.” - Frederick Douglass
Thousands of parents face the same problems with their out-of-control teens. Each of them use different approaches on how to react and modify their child’s behaviour based of family traditions, religions and personal life experience. Approaches to parenting vary.
How you parent – your parenting style is influenced by your own parents, your personality, the stresses you face in your life, what you learn from people around you and your child’s personality.
During the early 1960s , psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study on more than 1000 preschool-age children. Using naturalistic observation, parental interviews and other research methods, she identified four important dimensions of parenting:
* Disciplinary strategies
* Warmth and nurturance
* Communication styles
* Expectations of maturity and control

Based on these dimensions, Baumrind suggested that the majority of parents display one of four different parenting styles.

In this article we’ll consider each of them according TODAY’s World and CHANGES in Society, helping you to understand your own style and limits, and may be to encourage you to try some changes in your parenting style.

1. Indulgent or Permissive Parenting

According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive then they are demanding. They are non-traditional and lenient, do not require mature behaviour, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation”. Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent. Misbehaviour is ignored.

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum.The permissive parent might not force the issue, and suggest a compromise instead -"We'll just sponge off."
Are you a permissive parent?
Popular in the 50’s and 60’s, this style was a reaction to the horrors of whole nations following the dictators in World War 2. Instead of following, children are encouraged to think for themselves, avoid inhibitions, and not value conformity. Parents take a “hands-off” approach, allowing children to learn from the consequences of their actions.

Although those raised in this style are creative and original, they often have trouble living in a highly populated community. Ignoring misbehaviour gives no information about expected behaviour. With no intervention, the bully wins, while the passive child loses, a perfect set-up to be a victim in later life.

Unlike the child-oriented 50’s and 60’s where one consistent adult was available to patiently guide self-discovery to the consequences of actions, today’s society is fast –paced with a multitude of adults playing into the child’s life each week. Without clear limits, children get confused, feel insecure, and can make poor choices.

2. Authoritarian Parents – 

expect their children to accept their values, judgments and goals without question. Commanding the child what to do and what not to do, rules are clear and unbending. Misbehaviour is strictly punished. (We are not taking here about Abusive Parenting that includes emotional, physical or sexual abuse and neglect. Abusive parenting causes lasting damage and must be stopped.)

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum. The authoritarian parent might use control, power, and corporal punishment, forcing the child into the tub.
Are you an authoritarian parent?
Predominant for most of Western history, authoritarian parenting is effective in societies experiencing little change and accepting one way to do things (agrarian – industrial societies). A master teacher (often the parent) instructs the child on each act.
This style mismatches a rapidly changing society which values choice and innovation. Rebellion often results from strict punishment. Children raised to follow the “expert” easily copy anyone including undesirable peers.

3. Uninvolved or Indifferent Parenting

An indifferent parent may not show much interest in the child’s needs. They believe that their job is to provide the necessities (food and shelter) but there is little or no emotional input.

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum.The neglectful parent might let the issue go - and would probably have a pretty dirty - 4-year-old!
Are you uninvolved parent?
Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.

We highly recommend reading:
Active Parenting - Parenting of the 21st Century
5 Building Blocks of Active Parenting

4. Authoritative Parenting

Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. The difference is in the area of psychological control. Parents have a lot of behaviour control, but there is no psychological control. They do not use methods of emotional blackmail, withdrawal of love, bringing in feelings of guilt or other negative tactics with their children.

This parenting style is more democratic. Clarifying issues, parents give reasons for limits. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Their disciplinary methods are supportive rather than punitive. Learning to take responsibility is a high priority. Children are given lots of practice in making choices and guided to see the consequences of those choices.
Out-of control children have “cool-off” time, not punishment.

Example: Your 4-year old does NOT want to take a bath. She is busy with her toys and knows the routine - bath and then bed. She is moving toward a tantrum.The authoritative parent might discuss the problem and come up with a solution acceptable to both parent and child - an incentive such as a bubble bath, cookies and milk after the bath, or reading a story during the bath.

Are you authoritative parent?
Authoritative parenting is the best for today’s fast-changing information age where choice is constant and there is no longer just one “right” way. Children raised by this style learn to accept responsibility, make wiser choices, cope with change, and are better equipped to succeed in a work-force which relies on cooperative problem-solving.

Which Is Your Style?
We highly recommend reading:
Teaching Your Child Active Listening Skills
Maybe you are somewhere in between. Think about what you want your children to learn. Ask yourself these questions: Can your teen talk and negotiate with you? Can your children make decisions and make choices for themselves? Or because you are the parent, do your children have no say in things?

Can I change?
It's a parent responsibility to prepare their children to survive in this world without them. If your parenting style has been too strict or too passive, inconsistent or abusive you should try to change. You have habits and attitudes that are hard to break. Your children are used to the way that things have been. They are likely to resist change. But it can be done and it is worth the effort to build a better relationship. 


* The PRINCESS Bitchface Syndrome by Michael Carr-Gregg

* Parenting Styles, by Kendra Cherry, About.com Guide
* Do you know your parenting style? by Marie-Helen Goyetche
* Understanding the Reasons: Parenting Styles by Strong Bonds Jesuit Social Services
* Effective Parenting Styles. Why Yesterday’s Models Won’t Work Today, http://www.kidsource.com/better.world.press/parenting.html

* GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORIATIVE PARENTING : http://www.thesuccessfulparent.com/parenting-styles/assessing-your-parenting-styles

June 4, 2010

Optimism the Key to a Successful Life

Growing up in an increasingly complex world means young people need the resources and skills to positively and successfully navigate their way through life.  My experience and research - which led me to establish the Optimistic Kids program – suggests that one of the best ways we can equip children to be resilient and thrive is to teach them how to view any situation or incident in an optimistic way.
This approach does not mean that negative or troubling events are trivialized into a falsely rosy picture. Instead, the ability to be optimistic allows a person to look beyond the immediacy of a negative experience and learn from it, so as to deal with it more effectively should that situation rise again.

Through promoting optimism, the strengths and resilience of children are fostered in a way that translates into every other aspect of their lives, maximizing their sense of achievement and well-being.

A significant amount of research on optimism has been carried out in recent years, with optimism defined as a set of expectations about the future that is markedly positive and hopeful.

Psychologists now understand that optimism forms a critical part of both mental and physical well-being. Both children and adults with an optimistic outlook experience better health, and are much more likely to bounce back from adversity, including chronic illness or bereavement.

In terms of mental well-being, individuals with an optimistic outlook are much more likely to view negative events as temporary, their own actions as highly effective, and tend to have more friends. They are more likely to experience greater success in academic, athletic, occupational and political fields, and, as a consequence, are much less likely to ever suffer depression or anxiety in their lives.

The single most exciting finding of all this research, however, is that optimism can be taught. It is malleable and flexible, and since it promotes problem solving, it allows the individual to respond in different, open-minded ways as the situation dictates.

It is important to note, however, that young people’s optimism tends to decline with age. This significant trend has been documented in several research studies and seems directly proportional to the onset of depression in early adolescence.

This is why fostering the optimism of children in a systematic way is so critical – This optimism does not have to decline, it can be maintained in a viable, adaptive way, so long as children are taught how to draw on the skills of optimism in a conscious way.

Promoting and teaching optimism in this way provides children and adolescents with a set of “thinking tools” that allows them to navigate life in a more productive, happier, even healthier, way.

The skills of optimism promote children’s ability to master tasks, be confident in their own actions, view their setbacks as opportunities for growth, and interact with their parent, family, and peers in an active, resourceful way.

Simon Andrews on behalf of Enough is Enough