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Maggie Hamilton - Parenting Workshop


The Secrets to Successfully Parenting 21st Century Kids

Workshop with guest presenter:  MAGGIE HAMILTON

Tuesday, 8 August, 2017

Kellyville Campus - Multi-Purpose Centre


This generation of girls and boys is like no other.  They have different values, interests and anxieties, and new ways of learning and viewing the world.


  • Why today's boys and girls pay more attention to their peers than their parents
  • What makes brand-name clothes and looking sexy so appealing
  • Why children are drawn to 'out there' behaviours
  • Why depression, cutting, eating disorders, drinking and accessing porn are on the rise
  • Get practical take-home tips:

- Capturing their attention

- Stretching and encouraging them

- Disciplining and empowering them

- Keeping them safe


Maggie Hamilton writes books and for magazines; gives talks and lectures; is a regular media commentator and a keen observer of social trends.  Her many books include What Men Don't Talk About, which examines the lives of men and boys; What's Happening to Our Girls? and What's Happening to Our Boys? which examine the issues 21st Century boys and girls face and solutions to these challenges; and Secret Girls' Business a fun, funky, empowering gift book for teen girls.


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What Is Happening to Our Boys and Girls Right Now?

Maggie Hamilton

Less than a decade ago children didn’t access the internet, or use camera and video-enabled phones. But these advances, along with the overwhelming marketing to kids, have forever changed childhood and teen life. Parents, teachers, school counselors, emergency staff in hospitals, and police are now run ragged dealing with the fallout.

If we’re serious about protecting our kids, we need to understand the impact of growing up in a world of branded toys and DVDs. By the time many of our children are at preschool, they are no longer involved in imaginative play. They’re following the scripts of the DVDs they watch instead. Years before they can read or write, our pre-schoolers are anxious about their looks and clothing – anxieties which increase as they grow.

Children need imaginative play, good food, fresh air, to run around, be spontaneous, be in nature for their brains to develop. Noted neuroscientist Susan Greenfield points out that in cognitive tests today’s 11-year-olds are on average two to three years behind 11-year-olds kids only fifteen years ago. The fallout from shrinking childhoods is tangible, concerning. We’re now seeing kids as young as 7 needing professional help depression and eating disorders. Almost 4,000 children under ten were prescribed anti-depressants from mid-2007 to 2008. Over five hundred of these kids were under five.

As our kids now live in a performance culture, their whole life is now on show, and frequently recorded in graphic detail. Figures suggest 40 per cent of young Australian girls have had unwanted sex. Sexting is now commonplace, and something even primary schools are battling. Professionals are seeing girls so traumatised from sexting they're suffering post-traumatic stress.

One in ten girls in Australia is now self-harming - cutting or slashing their skin, pulling their hair out. There are many ways our self-loathing girls hurt themselves. Bullying is more intense and linked, in part, to the arrival of reality TV, and the psychologically cruel often humiliating ways in which attention-hungry contestants are treated.

Not all kids are behaving this way, but daily they’re exposed to those who are through friendships, through magazines, through the internet. The tragedy is that often parents are the last go-to people, because kids see us living in a parallel world, and they’re right.

Perhaps the question isn’t so much what’s wrong with our kids, but what’s wrong with us? Our kids need adults who care about boundaries and giving them a childhood. Dads also have an important role to play in modelling what good men are all about. We need to get up to speed with the changes going on around us, and the impact it’s having on our kids. We need to speak out about inappropriate programs and advertising, and the overwhelming marketing to kids to better protect our kids.

Girls and boys benefit from:

  • a spontaneous, imaginative, relaxed childhood
  • one-on-one time with parents – shared simple weekly rituals 
  • eating together as a family around the kitchen table without TV on
  • discussions of concerning themes viewed on TV and in films
  • friendships of all ages, so they can access good experience and support
  • service to their community, to experience the joy of giving
  • discussions on key issues before they meet them in the playground
  • a rich family life to counter-act the influence of peers
  • discovering the joy of vintage clothing, recycling, funky crafts
  • pursuing their passions – art, dancing etc – outside of school 
  • learning the importance of time to chill out
  • understanding their worth is not about looks and popularity

Writer and publisher Maggie Hamilton, author of the recently published What’s Happening to Our Girls? and What’s Happening To Our Boys?