October 18, 2023

Healthy and happy childhoods make for the best futures

‘Healthy and happy childhoods make for the best futures’ blog article was written by Chris Hutchinson, Senior Consultant, from the Parenting and Early Years team at Australian Childhood Foundation.

“One hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was or what kind of car I drove, but the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child”

– Taken from ‘A Heart for Children’, C. Margaret Fishback Powers, 1995

Parenting is the most important job in the world but, thank goodness, it is not a job done alone. Brothers, sisters, parents, friends and the community can all be there to support and guide parents along their parenting journey.


The most important influence on a child

Research shows that parenting is the single most important influence on a child’s wellbeing and development. Warm, nurturing and loving parenting lays down a strong foundation for children and provides a buffer through life’s ups and downs. Good parenting comes in all shapes and sizes. It is about caring and loving for the long haul.

The universal ingredients of good parenting include being:

  • warm
  • accepting
  • sensitive
  • predictable
  • responsive
  • committed
  • involved
These might be the ingredients but there are many recipes.


Parenting is a constant work in progress

Good parenting rises above biological ties, family structure or parent’s gender, age, sexuality or ability. It’s what parents do and say that matters the most, and it’s a constant work in progress:

  • Parenting is learned on the job
  • Parenting is learned through the sharing of knowledge and the daily experiences of raising children
  • Effective parenting means continually learning and adapting to the rapidly changing needs of children.

The role of community in parenting

It’s important to acknowledge that good parenting is community business too. Children and parents do best when the whole community values and supports parenting. Communities that celebrate the joys of parenting make it easier for parents to enjoy their parenting role and to seek help when needed.

Further, communities can provide parents with the chance to develop parenting knowledge, skills and confidence along with professional advice and support as necessary.

Great outcomes for all children can be achieved when parenting is high on the national agenda. This includes:

  • A national commitment to supporting parents
  • Providing evidence-based parenting support
  • Community education around parenting and its value
  • Universal education and health services that support children and families

Happy, healthy, resilient, contented children thrive in the context of a lasting parental bond in a safe, loving, nurturing home. Imagine if every parent was strong, resilient, engaged, continually learning and capable in their parenting. What great outcomes there would be for all children.


Learn more about our Bringing Up Great Kids (BUGK) Program

Bringing Up Great Kids (BUGK) is an integrated suite of activities and tools that are unique and offer all parents and carers a fresh way to understand and enact relationships with their children. It focuses on building positive and nurturing relationships between parents and their children, while also aiming to support parents to review and enhance their patterns of communication with their children to promote more respectful interactions and encourage the development of children’s positive self-identity.