Parenting is a challenging experience that can put a great deal of pressure on relationships

Whilst bringing up children can be a wonderful experience, it can also be very trying at times. Parenting can place enormous pressure on your relationship with your partner. Yet a loving and supportive relationship is exactly what you and your partner need most when you are facing the challenges of child rearing.

It seems challenging enough getting through the birth of your baby and learning about feeding and changing nappies. But as babies develop into toddlers, then into young children and then teenagers, it becomes clear that parenting is one of the most demanding jobs a person can do.

There is no simple guidebook on how to be a good parent, so parents are often left struggling, wondering if they are doing the right thing or whether they are being too easy on their children.

Contrary to what many people believe, parenting is not instinctive or automatic - effective parenting is learned.

Acknowledging that you as a parent are having difficulty with your children is a first step in finding a better way.

Asking for help can give you different options to try in parenting your children and make it easier and more enjoyable once you have mastered these new skills.

Learning relationship skills will help you to build a successful partnership as parents

Relationship Support Services

Counselling is available to parents to assist them with difficulties they may have with children. This can include reading material to help parents, to increase their awareness of issues faced by children and how to respond to them.

Family Dispute Resolution Services (family mediation) are available to assist parents to resolve conflict that affects children and this can include development of parenting plans. Children can be interviewed as part of the family dispute resolution process.

How Violence and Abusive Behaviour Affects Children

The forgotten victims of family violence are often the children in the family. Even if the children are not physically abused themselves, they will often witness the abuse of the abused parent.

Many children of abusers are scared of the abuser, and will often exhibit problems such as 'acting out', problems at school, and many other symptoms.

Besides being traumatised, these children are much more likely to be abusive in their own relationships when they are older, as that is what they have had modelled to them by their parents.

For many children, the first step is merely having someone who recognises that they are involved and allows them to tell their story. There are also therapists who specialise with working with children and also groups available for children who have witnessed domestic violence.