Logan student takes parent project to main stage

Social justice advocate and World Vision CEO, Tim Costello, will be among a host of industry leaders with whom Griffith University student Shae Mitchell shares a stage this weekend.

The 23-year-old Child and Family student (pictured) at Griffith’s School of Human Services and Social Work will outline results of a unique participatory parenthood program she has researched this year.

The National Conference – Building a Child Friendly Community, part sponsored by Griffith University, brings together 300 academics and authorities for the two-day conference at the Logan Entertainment Centre on Friday and Saturday.

Among the keynote speakers is Associate Professor Geoff Woolcock from Griffith University’s Urban Research Program.

Final year student Shae Mitchell will join representatives from Spot Community Services to outline the Heart Ties Enriching Parenthood program she has researched since Griffith supervisor Dr Jennifer Cartmel invited her to build on a research initiative at Browns Plains in south Brisbane.

The five-week program focuses on the relationship between parents and children and aims to help parents build a secure attachment with their child.

“The program offers a great opportunity for parents to take responsibility for their pre-conceived notions of parenthood,” Shae said.

“It’s about getting parents to stop and think about what they’re doing, unpacking their beliefs and challenging recognised, ingrained patterns and behaviours of parenthood.

“Through the program, they change the way they view parenting, setting new goals which require alternative strategies to those previously used.

“The program aims to help parents recognise what they truly want as a parent and help them to reconnect with their child, creating a respectful and loving connection.”

The research undertaken found that parents who successfully completed the program and reconstructed their thoughts on the meaning of parenthood later reported less stress, improved family functioning and healthier relationships among family members.

Shae’s address at this weekend’s conference takes place on Saturday. “This is a great opportunity to meet people and network with other great organisation representatives.

“It’s an area I am passionate about. Helping children and families reach their full potential could be very rewarding as a career.”