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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.

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 (can 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
How does baking help parents to parent therapeutically with safety, structure and nurture?

Adoptive parent Linda Cooke was looking to parent with nurture and positivity and discovered therapeutic parenting was the answer.

Therapeutic parenting allows you to stay connected and present with your child, creating loving attachments and relational parenting that works.

There are some rules though! Safety, nurture and structure must be present and you need to be present with your child while they work through their emotions and challenges.

Its parenting that builds the brain and is perfect for parenting children from complex backgrounds.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
What do kangaroos have to do with developmental trauma and control, shame, hoarding and overeating? Learn how you can move on from developmental trauma.

Liz Powell, PCA Families Advisor, joins Sonia Wagner, Project Manager at PCA Families, to discuss developmental trauma.

Understanding what developmental trauma is, where it comes from, why it is so challenging to preempt and what we need to do to help our children experiencing developmental trauma can be challenging but is so important.

Children who come from complex backgrounds like permanent or kinship care or adoption are likely to have experienced some form of developmental trauma.

Early trauma can arise from things known and sometimes unknown, like development in the womb while a parent is emotionally unavailable.

Children experiencing developmental trauma can often be labelled as over controlling, naughty, a problem child or even autistic or diagnosed with ADHD. Yet these responses can hold the child back from progressing.

Understanding their behaviour from a trauma informed perspective can help.

Early trauma impacts the child by leaving them stuck operating in survival mode, leaving little room for higher executive functioning, even when they make it to a safe environment.

The good news is that developmental trauma can repair within relationships with the right interventions at the right time over a long period of time.

Liz shares some tips and ideas on how you can repair developmental trauma for your children.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
For school leavers and those in care, you can get to TAFE or Uni, by accessing supports (without VCE).

For many young people living in care, aspiring to Uni or TAFE can seem overwhelming, perhaps due to disrupted schooling, or perhaps because other matters are a priority.

There are ways to get to TAFE and Uni, with or without VCE, and with financial support and other support too eg coaching and mentoring at the Uni or TAFE, help with resume writing and work experience or other support.

It is important to know what the options are before leaving school or finishing Year 12.

Find out how Raising Expectations can assist young people and carers / parents on this journey.

Access Raising Expectations Shownotes Summary of Resources 

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Blow ups and how to avoid and move on from them for adoptive, kinship and permanent care families.

One of the challenges of gaining cooperation from young people in permanent or kinship care can be due to them operating in a more stressed state. However, the reaction we see is not necessarily the real driver of the reaction.

For young people from a traumatic life experience, the idea of not being in control is incredibly triggering and their reactions can reflect those triggers. Sitting down to learn in a home-schooling environment, for example, with good intentions, can quickly escalate due to two peoples anxiety around this. The carer: feelings of I’m not the teacher and being intense in the one to one teacher student situation. The child: feeling so ashamed and anxious about showing how much they don’t know. This can result in increased tension, verbal abuse, tossing of books, leaving the space or house altogether. This type of explosive situation leaves both with negative feelings.

So how do you move on from negative feelings? One way is to use reframing. Have a curious mind and find out what is getting in their way and how you can help. Reframing can move young people on from feelings of frustration, guilt and shame to feeling supported and strengthened in the relationship. This is as important at home as it is in the classroom. Young people need support to learn how to meet their needs, manage stress and improve their skills. They need relateable families and teachers to help them get there.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Preparation for many situations and events is a big part of our lives, however, often seeing a lawyer and preparing a will is an expensive, time consuming and thought provoking process.

Preparation for many situations and events is a big part of our lives, however, often seeing a lawyer and preparing a will is an expensive, time consuming and thought provoking process. Wills are often something that we leave to another day, and often that day never comes. That day did come for one carer, Naomi Colville. 

Naomi started by attending a webinar and soon found herself considering many aspects that she hadn't considered. Who would be the guardian for the children? What should be done to make arrangements for a child that would never be capable of being responsible for their own finances? And what type of structures accommodated both their children and allowed for protection from various other parties involved in her children's lives? What did Naomi learn about a disability trust? The answers are out there and require time, thought and strategies to be determined, and they will need to be reviewed too over time.

Listen to her story or see the website for contacts and resources to start your own journey in ensuring your wishes are clearly set out to safeguard the young people in your life.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources
Sensory play can help in finding a calm state and learning about the World around us. Find out how to get started and what you need.

Sensory activities can assist young people in finding a calm state. Where trauma is involved, self-regulation and knowing how to soothe may need to be taught or learnt. Whether you like blankets, music, oil burners or water, trial and error helps one to discover what works best. Sensory play helps children who have experienced trauma find their safe place which assists with self-regulation and development.

Young people who are in permanent care, kinship care or who are adopted can often benefit from sensory play. But how do you offer sensory play to your young people? Find out how by learning from like-minded families (with children in permanent care, adopted or in kinship care) about how they offered and succeeded with offering sensory play to their young people.

A transcript with information and photos to illustrate sensory play, plus resources (books, websites, programs) you can access and a shopping list for what you need can also be found on the PCA Families website.

Watch the video and access the transcript and resources