Want to make the world a better place? Start with parents UQ says
The Sector > Research > Understanding Children > Want to make the world a better place? Start with parents UQ says

Want to make the world a better place? Start with parents UQ says

by Freya Lucas

February 06, 2020

Parenting can transform children, families, communities and big global problems, and the pathway to addressing many of the world’s biggest social problems could be found in improved parenting, according to an international parenting conference presented by The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Life Course Centre in Brisbane.


Being held over three days from 5 February, the Helping Families Change Conference will discuss the benefits that can flow from improved child and family development and wellbeing – from dealing with the emotional trauma of Australia’s bushfire crisis, to tackling big global issues such as climate change and meeting the world’s sustainable development goals.


The impact positive parenting can have has been “vastly underestimated”, said Director of UQ’s Parenting and Family Support Centre, Professor Matthew Sanders


While there are obvious benefits to children from positive parenting, Professor Sanders said, there are also many benefits to adults, including improved relationships, problem solving and mental health, with research demonstrating that evidence-based parenting support can transform whole communities.


“Through this, parenting can provide a common pathway to major societal change and addressing many of the world’s biggest and most complex problems,” he added.


Professor Sanders is the founder of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program and initiated the first Helping Families Change Conference in 1995. More than 300 participants are expected to attend this year’s conference, from more than 20 countries worldwide. 


As well as having a big picture perspective, exploring how parenting can tackle major global problems, the conference will also cover more specific parenting issues such as managing children’s screen time, same-sex parenting, and the benefits of families having pets.


Co-sponsor of the conference, The Life Course Centre, is a research hub focused on investigating the drivers of disadvantage within families and across generations. One of the centre’s flagship research projects is the ‘Every Family: Australian Triple P System Population Trial’ which is examining the effects of positive parenting support on community disadvantage.


It seeks to determine if a certain level of community engagement can create spill-over benefits for families who do not receive parenting assistance through Triple P, and triggering wider community change.


Life Course Centre Director Professor Janeen Baxter will outline research relating to family dynamics, and the centre’s future directions for improving outcomes for children and families in social disadvantage.


“Our researchers are interested in the entire life course, not just a single point in time, and this is closely aligned with the wide-ranging focus of this year’s conference,” Professor Baxter said.


“We know that parenting and family relationships are crucial over every stage of the life course, and that they exert enduring influence on the transmission of disadvantage within families and across generations.Parenting, therefore presents a strategic intervention to disrupt this cycle.”


More information about the conference may be accessed here

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