Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 5 No 1 Contents BELONGING EARLY YEARS JOURNAL • VOLUME 5 NUMBER 1 • 2016 • 91
child health + safety
inappropriate parenting behaviours are a result of
• Social stresses
A parent’s ability to manage stress in their lives is
extremely important in them being able to manage
children’s behaviour. When parents are calm and
they are not tired or stressed, their tolerance levels
and ability to deal with their children’s behaviour is
generally good; however, as these stress levels rise,
so, too, does their inability to deal with day-to-day
issues calmly and rationally.
• Social isolation
Having a social presence is very important for
providing variety and self-esteem for any person.
Isolation can easily lead to depression, and
relationship and family issues.
• Barriers to accessing service and resources
These barriers to parents are often driven by
perception and fear of being judged by others, rather
than the lack of services and resources available.
• Unstable and separated family environment
History shows that when parents’ relationships, life
and work are in a good place, their tolerance levels
around their children are usually very good. But
when one of these key life issues causes stress to
parents, we know that tolerance levels can shrink
very quickly, raising the threat of child protection
concerns, especially around emotional abuse,
physical abuse and exposure to domestic violence.
Identify concerns or issues from an
This second step is based on understanding that
your service’s community is one of the most critical
aspects of providing a connected service. If you do
not understand the pressures, available resources
and opportunities that your community provides
families, then how will you ever be able to provide
meaningful connection and frameworks to support
Remember, when identifying the key issues, you are
looking at each heading constructively, highlighting
strengths and weaknesses within each key area.
To conduct an environmental scan of your community,
the following issues need to be taken into consideration:
wealth (also known as socio-economics)
strengths and weaknesses
availability of resources
Connecting with families
The ability for children to develop and express their
own reflections is not only a key outcome of our Early
Years Learning Framework, but it’s also a valuable tool
in understanding what the child is facing and seeing in
the outside world. Always remember to create activities
or tasks that provide children with the ability to share
things with you. This is a great child protection tool that
is being underpinned by our learning framework.
Sometimes, the things that you do with children can
strengthen your relationship with parents through what
you don’t say.Try the following exercise next time you
see a parent upset in the morning, or when you know
things are rough at home:
During the day, have their child cut out a flower from
cardboard, colour it in, and stick it on the back of a
paddle-pop stick. When their parent walks in, have the
child go up and give it to them, and suggest that they
say,‘I love you Mum/Dad!’ When that parent doesn’t
see another 15 of these flowers hanging around the
room, they know something more about you – they
know you are there for support.That parent will be
10 times more likely to talk to you the next time they
are stressed or when something isn’t right.
Tools and resources to identify and
Remember that most families have had very little
reason to ever engage with a community service for
assistance. In fact, the only time most adults are ever
exposed to services like Lifeline or Red Cross is when
there has been a natural disaster that they have been
involved in (such as cyclones, fires and floods), when
there is an appeal on television, or when they are
featured in the news regarding a natural disaster in
another country or state.
So, from this, most adults form the misconcepition
that these services are there for people to engage
with when they have lost everything or hit rock bottom,
when, in fact, these community agencies and ones
like them would prefer people to engage when the
issues first arise. The assistance in these cases is easier
and more beneficial when provided early, not when
everyone has suffered first.
By embedding community support into your service,
you will not only raise parents’ awareness of agencies
that can help in family and domestic violence situations,
but you can also make parents feel comfortable about
using these services without feeling judged.
Understanding values and cultures, knowing when
families need help, and building strong connections are
the secret to success of any early intervention strategy, in
particular domestic and family violence.
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