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Lived Experience Parenting Recordings

Parenting children with complex needs requires great patience, extra time and a good sense of humour as you juggle your family, extended families, work and the educational and financial needs of your families.

Lived Experience Parenting ChannelThe Lived Experience Parenting Channel is a free virtual community to support kinship, permanent care and adoptive parents, carers and families.

Learn from other parents or carers how to successfully parent your child and overcome some of the challenges of working from home, home schooling, financial hardship and accessing professional support. 

Theories may not work in practice or we may not understand how they should or could be adapted for specific circumstances. Ideas and tips from others with lived experience gives us the confidence to become better parents or carers.

Whether its learning that ‘relaxer’ is the secret ingredient to managing extremely curly, kinky or frizzy textured hair, or finding out how to set up sensory play activities to build children’s confidence, learn from those that have gone before!

The channel features content in the form of audio or videos, or podcasts and webinars. 

Visit our YouTube channel to subscribe and be notified when we post new content.

Updates and new audio or video will also be communicated in our regular Communications Update by email.  Please share with other carers or parents and let us know if you have an idea for a topic!

Disclaimer: The resources presented on this website are not intended to override yourself as experts of your families and lives.  They are also not intended to replace therapy – they are there for reference and educational purposes only to support you on your parenting journey.

Bobbi Cook Behaviour Management Therapist and Kinship Carer

Bobbi Cook is a behaviour therapist with 30+ years experience and a very devoted kinship carer to her 13yo grandson.

Bobbi teaches us a few things that she learnt the hard way as a kinship carer! They include:

  • dont be anti-lables, the labels can help be a coathanger, a way for others to understand what your child needs
  • try medication if you are advised to, and look at how it affects their play, not their school work. Play is how they learn. School involves layers of trauma
  • take an advocate with you to meetings about your child, as others behave differently when you have company
  • disclose everything and communicate openly with schools
  • with behaviour management, use rules like when/then, don't ask questions/give instructions, avoid compensatory parenting or if you do compensate, name the process and feelings
  • take breaks and make sure you arrange respite, its not a failure.
Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
In TLSW children are offered support to dig deeper into their past with safety and support.

Anna Beeson and Elise Saunders are Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSW) practitioners who have worked with permanent and kinship carers and adoptive parents in completing life story work.

They highlight the value of the work which comes from being curious and wondering together, a shared journey between caregivers and the child, uncovering more than one person's perspective and capturing the child's voice, their narrative once they make meaning of their history.

In TLSW children are offered support to dig deeper into their past with safety and support.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Chrissie Davies, an adoptive and permanent carer, teacher and consultant (Calm the Chaos) to families impacted by extreme behaviours and trauma wants you to understand children's brains so that you can be confident in the decisions that you're making

Chrissie Davies, an adoptive and permanent carer, teacher and consultant (Calm the Chaos) to families impacted by extreme behaviours and trauma wants you to understand children's brains so that you can be confident in the decisions that you're making.

Chrissie suggests that when you truly focus on relationships, trust and connection for your children, rather than control and punishment, they will respond more positively and you can save your time and energy for the big things, like sleeping, eating or speaking kindly and the lifelong skills that our children need.

Chrissie suggests you say yes more and start each day anew!

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Play therapy is a powerful tool where children can begin to heal by using metaphors.

Dr Eliana Gil has been on a quest to integrate trauma informed practices with neuroscience and has studied attachment based therapies like the Circle of Security and Theraplay. Working with Dr Bruce Perry, with a background in expressive therapies, Dr Gil is an advocate for various expressive therapies including Theraplay (along with many of her peers from Dan Hughes and Besel Van Der Kolk to Daniel Siegal and Stephen Porges).

She reminds us that those who love us hurt us, and this is why children need time and safety to move on from past trauma.

Dr Gil kindly shares with us real life examples of how traumatic experiences come up in the play, including examples of physical and sexual abuse, divorce, natural disasters, grief and domestic violence.

She reminds us that unwanted behaviours are not rejection, but questions that need to be depersonalised, and that children take a long time to heal but that it doesnt have to be permanent. 

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing has moved on from being "that tapping therapy" and is now one of the Medicare funded therapies that works so well with children from trauma backgrounds. Find out more about it from Maria Marshall.

Maria Marshall is a psychologist, naturopath and EMDR therapist and parent to 3 children, including one through permanent care, who has utilised EMDR to improve outcomes when managing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, grief, pain and more.

Maria utilises a child friendly version of EMDR called Flash, along with CBT, supporting regulation and skills development, working on identifying parts of the body that "keep the score" when memories fail. Maria suggests that practicing self regulation skills by getting the heart rate up and finding ways to come down from stress in a positive environment is important. Thats where games like Snap and Pie Face are useful. She also recommends being curious and challenging children's thought patters with questions like "Would you still love me if I ..."

Some great tips on how to approach therapy and EMDR.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Hope and solutions that are trauma informed.

Chris has experience working in many fields, from specialist teaching in schools to homelessness, family violence and the justice system. Believing that she could be more useful, she set out to truly understand the brain and body, studying numerous therapies.

After all of her learning, it is the safe and sound protocol, a listening or auditory system that helps with calming and felt safety, that is Chris's favourite thing, with the potential to achieve felt safety following a 5 hour core component combined with therapy support. 

Chris has seen mute children start to talk, disregulated children reengage and children who are adopted or had a traumatic birth and start to life, start to repair their birth process. And she does all this with a sense of fun involving play, art and clay therapy too.

Enjoy the video and please comment to let us know what you thought.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Children's brains need to be primed for development. This may be because the brain is stuck in fight flight freeze or because milestones have been missed. Neuro Developmental Therapy can help prime the brain. Yvette Knights

There is often an element of a child's unknown history and underlying trauma.This can impact on relationships and development. Carers/parents may be doing all they can but nothing works because the children's brains haven't yet been primed for development. This may be because the brain is stuck in fight flight freeze or because milestones have been missed. Yvette Knights offers neuro development therapy, a physical therapy, that helps with rewiring the brain and meeting missed milestones. The science behind it is based on polyvagal theory.

This therapy can help with emotional regulation (manage and understand emotions), speech and language, motor development, organisational skills and problem solving skills, learning and balance. So for those with ADHD, Autism and similar this therapy helps too.Yvette discusses many specific examples of where she has made a difference in a child's life including food intolerances, anger and tantrums, coordination and bike riding, reading speech and language, self harm and more.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Anna is a Filippino navigating birth family reunion and adoption losses, eating disorders and self harm. As a counsellor and psychosocial recovery coach she offers great insight!

Anna is a Filippino adoptee who traced her biological mother and was able to reunite with her and other relatives. In the process, Anna navigates adoption loss on many levels:

  • her adopted sister is not similarly engaged in finding her adoptive relatives
  • her half siblings have their own loss and shame to navigate
  • her daughter starts to echo her own questions of loss (would you give me up for adoption?)
  • birth is a time of pressure to avoid further loss in her adoptive and biological families.

Eating disorders and self harm were tools Anna used to help suppress the curiosity and internal conflict. Anna has great insight as she has done the work of deep reflection, is a qualified counsellor and psychosocial recovery coach and is fully immersed in the adoption community. 

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Therapeutic parenting takes time, connection and support. Gregory highlights the importance of understanding developmental needs and offers practical strategies for parenting quarelling siblings. He loooks to the Aboriginal practice of Dadirri too.

PCA Families spoke with Gregory Nicolau, psychologist and founder of the Australian Childhood Trauma Group about therapeutic parenting.

Gregory showed us how therapeutic parenting and change in the brain takes time, consistent and ongoing connection, and a village to support carers and parents.

He suggests we look to the Dadirri model used in the Aboriginal community, not control and consequences.

He highlights the importance of understanding developmental needs in the therapeutic parenting model, so that you can help your child with their stressors and access the right supports (therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists)

Practical strategies to use with quarrelling siblings are given that can be implemented with ease. 

Definitely worth a listen!

 

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Tory, an African Refugee, lives in care for 11 years. She reflects on culture, trauma support and the importance of a strong open relationship with carers.

Tory is an African refugee who came to Australia at 5 years old. At 7years old she found herself in long term care, with one of her sisters, where she stayed for 11 years. Tory had to adjust. She went from youngest sibling to oldest sibling in the carers home. She went from an African culture to a blended Australian / Germanic refugee cutlure in the carers home. Therapy and cultural immersion were not Torys "thing". Nor was having 10 animals around!  Having a strong open relationship with her carer and accepting that she was in a safe place with people who loved and cared for her was her "thing".  Eventually Tory moves out of care two days before her 18th birthday, with a gentle push from her carers, into independent living with Youth Foyers. Tory reflects on the supports offered to her, that she sometimes rejected and wishes she didn't, and the importance of having a strong open relationship with her carer.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
David and Michael are a same sex couple who formed their family after a long term respite foster care relationship developed into a permanent care relationship. We have a wealth of information to learn from David and Michael and LBGQTI parents.

David and Michael are a same sex couple who formed their family after a long term respite foster care relationship developed into a permanent care placement. Their two children, two brothers, were 2 and 3.5 years old when they would come for respite care from Friday night to Sunday night every second weekend. Those two children are now young adults. We have a wealth of information to learn from David and Michael about gratitude, how a strong emotional connection can lead to great things and how to navigate care in the LBGQTI and broader community with keeping expectations high. 

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Respite care via Carer Gateway is available for carers despite other carer payments or allowances.

NDIS & Mental Health Engagement officer with Merri Health and Carer Gateway, Nicholas Colicchia, fills us in on what happens when carers seek respite care support from Merri Health, one of the 7 Carer Gateway partners.

Nic clarifies that support is available, regardless of other income entitlements like Centrelink or carer allowances. He tells us what to expect, and how to get registered and how to work in with NDIS if they are also involved in your young persons life.

There are great supports available. Everything from support for household tasks like meals, laundry or cleaning, to recreational and capacity building programs or even holidays and cultural events. 

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
How Maggie, a refugee from Africa, found herself in long term care, angry and emotional.. Hear about her journey. She wants others to learn from her experience!

Maggie came to Australia as a refugee from Africa in 2005 at 8 years of age, and found herself in long term care as a teenager from 10 to 16 years of age (excluding her 11th year where she spent a year in residential care so that she could live with her two siblings). At 16 she struggles with understanding why she is in this situation and her emotions and anger are hard to manage. She ends up back in residential care and soon after she joins Lighthouse Foundation where she lives until she rejoins her biological family. All these moves, changes and experiences, not to mention cultural differences to manage, are just layers of trauma, yet Maggie manages to rise above it all, maintaining connections at school, with family, with her foster family, maintaining her studies and is now completing further study to become a nurse. Listen to what advice she has to offer about being in care. If you are a young person in care, her advice about communicating and trusting those around you are important. If you are a carer, whether foster care, permanent care, kinship care or adoption, Maggie offers insights about how it feels and how you might help the young people in your life.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
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