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STRONGER TOGETHER: Where we start matters

Last updated: 11/09/2023

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the importance of listening to and being present with our children.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

As Child Protection Week 2023 draws to a close, it's a fitting time to pause and ponder the significant message this week carries each year. "Every child in every community needs a fair go." This year's theme, "Where we start matters," has served as a poignant reminder of the vital role our homes play in shaping our children's well-being. Within the walls of our own households, we've been presented with a golden opportunity to be fully present, to truly listen, and to lay the foundation for our children's futures.

In a recent Stronger Together column, I explored the essence of deep listening. It’s not merely about hearing words; it's about understanding the unspoken, tuning in to non-verbal cues, and being fully present. When we engage in deep listening with our children, we create a safe space for them to express themselves, fostering trust and resilience.

When we link the themes of Child Protection Week with deep listening, we unearth a powerful synergy. By being present with our children and attuned to their needs, we equip them with the emotional tools to navigate challenges, express their feelings, and seek help when necessary. In doing so, we fortify their resilience and provide a strong foundation for their growth. It’s within our homes that children learn their first lessons about love, respect, and resilience. It’s here that they form their initial impressions of the world, and it’s within these walls that their sense of security is nurtured.

To truly appreciate the significance of "Where we start matters," we must take stock of our roles as caregivers, parents, and guardians. We must acknowledge the profound influence we wield over our children's development. Our actions, words, and attitudes set the stage for their future interactions with the world.

Our latest episode of the Stronger Together Podcast went live yesterday on the topic domestic violence, and it’s a stark reminder of the painful reality that some children experience violence within their homes. Child Protection Week compels us to confront this harsh truth and take action.

As we reflect on Child Protection Week 2023, let’s remember that where we start does indeed matter. It starts within the walls of our homes, where the seeds of a child's future are sown. I urge you to commit to making your home a place of warmth, support, and understanding, where every child has the opportunity to thrive. Together, we can ensure that every child in every community truly gets a fair go, setting a brighter course for our collective future.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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