2019 parenting trends you should know

11 March 2019

2019 parenting trends you should know

  • Positive Parenting
by Michael Grose

Parenting Ideas always keeps a close eye on parenting trends so we can help keep you ahead of the curve. With this in mind Parenting Ideas founder Michael Grose will guide you through eight new parenting trends for 2019.

1. The normalisation of anxiety

Amazingly, when Australia conducted the first Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing in 1998 anxiety wasn’t listed in the list of disorders that impacted kids. It wasn’t on the radar in the same way that major depressive disorders and ADHD were. With one in seven Australian kids in the 4-18 age group experiencing a mental health disorder, it’s fair to say anxiety is on the radar now.

The last few years have seen the rise in the normalisation of anxiousness across all strands of the community. People from all walks of life are talking about it and there’s more knowledge about its management. There’s so much to learn and Parenting Ideas have a lot to share about this parenting trend, beginning with my Managing your child’s anxiety webinar in May.

2. Unearthing kids strengths

The Positive Psychology movement has been a strong influencer on school wellbeing practices for many years, but it’s struggled to have cut-through with parents – until now. The huge success of Professor Lea Waters’ book ‘The Strength Switch’ has seen parents start to embrace the strength-based approach with their families.

The holistic nature of this approach appeals to parents who are able to use knowledge of their children’s strengths to motivate, boost confidence and better manage their behaviour. We’re thrilled to have presented Prof. Lea Waters in her webinar on this topic recently – Switching on your child’s strengths .

3. Integrating digital technology into family-life

The rise of digital technology has been biggest game-changer in my three decades in parenting, bringing problems to families such as cyber-bullying, online safety and kids’ overuse. We know that parents want knowledge and information about children’s digital technology use beyond mere cease and desist tactics that many experts present.

Successful integration of children’s technology use into family-life is trending as a topic. Parents want kids to experience the benefits of digital technology, while staying safe. They also want to know how digital technology approach can enriching family-life rather than detract from it.

4. Wellbeing as a way of life, not merely a fad

The wellness industry has been thriving for years now and it’s beginning to make its mark on families. ‘Find a balance’, ‘Don’t over do your studies’, ‘Make sure you choose at least one subject you enjoy.’ The language kids hear is beginning to reflect the move toward mental health practices as a normal part of life, for happiness and wellbeing, and not just for optimal school success.

Parents will continue this year to look for the latest research, information and strategies to support the mental health and wellbeing of their families. Schools, as a trusted source of information, have a significant role to play in educating parents about this trend.

The rise of digital technology has been biggest game-changer in my three decades in parenting, bringing problems to families such as cyber-bullying, online safety and kids’ overuse. We know that parent want knowledge and information about children’s digital technology use beyond mere cease and desist tactics that many experts present.

5. Balancing extra-curricular activities

Has the student extra-curricular activity trend reached its nadir? Has kids’ busyness peaked? For many years the benefits of kids being involved in extra-curricular activities has been spruiked, while ignoring the cost in terms of overworked kids, frantic parents and stretched family time.

Now get ready to hear the word ‘balance’ replace the terms ‘benefits’ when extra-curricular activities are considered. The potential stresses that student overload can cause on family-life and parent wellbeing is now a common concern. In this increasingly competitive educational climate parents are yearning for more balance. This year Parenting Ideas well-being expert Dr. Jodi Richardson is conducting a practical webinar to help parents strike the right balance between kids’ activity, their mental health and family-life.

6. Healthy rites of passage

As a community we’ve struggled for many years to create rites of passage for young people. Once a young person’s first job, or their twenty-first birthday were significant markers of maturity, offering a sense that they were entering into the adult world. Community changes have largely eradicated these traditional markers, which makes it harder for a young person to know when they’ve become an adult.

There are many healthy ways to recognise a young person’s growing maturity and mark their journey into adulthood. Many families are now creating their own to mark events such as the end of primary school, the move into the teenage years, and different stages of adolescence. This year Dr. Arne Rubenstein will show parents how to create 21st Century rites of passage in a webinar he’s conducting at Parenting Ideas. We hope this trend is here to stay.

7. Understanding the body clock

Sleep has been high on most school’s ‘must reinforce with parents’ lists for the last few years. And rightfully so, as Australian kids haven’t been getting enough of this performance-enhancing, mental health-boosting activity. Most sleep messages provided to parents have focused on the development of good sleep habits, with regularity and routine being the major strategies. These are slim picking indeed in the light of recent sleep findings from the world of neuroscience.

The 24-hour body clock (circadian rhythm) until now has been thought to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period. Recent findings show that the body clock drives the timing for so much of our bodily and brain functions as well. Working with the body clock means not only does a child or teen get a good night’s sleep, but it also helps them maintain optimum body and mental performance. Work against it and not only is their mental health affected but daily tasks are more difficult to perform. The most remarkable finding though, is that we can reset our body clocks every day. That’s exciting as it’s easier than we first thought for kids to get the proverbial good night’s sleep. It’s a matter of making the body clock work with them, rather than against them.

8. Conversations that influence.

A decade ago the British did something simple yet profound. Realising that parents needed to converse with their kids if they were to influence their behaviour and thinking they conducted a nation-wide campaign to encourage parents to regularly share meal times with their children. So successful was this campaign that it saw a significant increase in shared mealtimes, and has been attributed to giving back to parents the ability to have influence, which was previously considered to be lost, over their children’s behaviour.

In Australia, parent-child conversations have been promoted as a relationship-builders, rather than ways to impact on children’s and young people’s behaviour and thinking. As our world is becoming increasingly chaotic and fast changing, parents are once more seeing the benefits of two-way exchanges with children about a range of issues. The meal-table, something so central to traditional Australian parenting, and in later years somewhat neglected, is now making a comeback. And we’re thrilled about that.

Awareness of trends influences our work at Parenting Ideas, and we believe it should influence the reading and learning of parents. It’s our observation that the most savvy and confident parents are those that keep one step ahead rather than always playing catch-up with what children and teenagers are thinking and doing.

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Michael Grose

Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.