top of page

Introduction - How do you transform the landscape of your child’s lifestyle?

This is a big question, and you are likely wondering how you do this. Believe it or not, there is an easy solution, and with the right tools and resources, anyone can get there.

Your child needs resiliency, authenticity, and entrepreneurial spirit in order to succeed in life. Unfortunately, our system is not set up to give your child these gifts. Instead, our system is set up to do the opposite. We are starting to see the product of this through the increased rates of anxiety, depression, and development challenges in children.

Research shows that around 13.6% of Australian children aged 4-11 experience a mental health disorder[1], and that an estimated 50% of adult mental illness begins before 14 years of age[2]. International studies indicate that 16-18% of children aged 0-5 years suffer from a mental health condition[3]. Children who are struggling are at greater risk of continued problems in adolescence and adulthood[4]. Between 2007 and 2022, the rates of anxiety experienced in adolescents doubled, with nearly one-third experiencing such high levels of anxiety that it interfered with their daily functioning[5].

Often, mental health vulnerabilities or difficulties in children are interpreted as behavioural issues or are thought to be intentional actions by the child. As a parent, how often have you interpreted your child’s behaviour/actions as them simply being a ‘worrier’, or them being ‘defiant’, and potentially miscategorised a need for support?

The research into childhood development and mental health within Australia is ever-evolving and we are continuing to gain further insight into what remains undiscovered as further value and attention is placed on this important time of life. With Australia’s first National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy released in Oct 2021 by the Mental Health Commission, the fractures and support challenges faced by children under 12 years of age have now been highlighted – yes you read that correctly, the first strategy relating to mental health and wellbeing of children has only recently happened. This is still a new area of focus within Australia. What this global research has shown is the importance of adopting a holistic and comprehensive approach to support.

As parents, you want something different and better for your child than what has been historically. The good news is that your child’s mental health can change over time, so the action you take now will help to support transforming the landscape of your child’s lifestyle. Infants and children, more than any other age group, are shaped and influenced by a range of social, biological, and environmental factors.

As children move from early childhood (2-5 years) into middle childhood (6-11 years), their experiences broaden as they engage further during their early years at school, and as they begin to learn about social relationships beyond the family through their development of varied and deeper friendships. This is a critical stage in which to support your child’s development as they learn how to maintain their authenticity while facing increasing societal expectations (peer influence, teacher’s influence, etc).

There are three pillars that we need to preserve and bring back to fundamental parenting approaches. Developing these fundamental pillars with your child early will significantly improve their life.

The three pillars are resiliency, authenticity, and entrepreneurial spirit.

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University defines resiliency as a combination of protective factors that enable people to adapt in the face of serious hardship. Resiliency in your context as parents, is about supporting your child to develop the capacity and skills so that they can remain in balance in all facets of their life. This development of capacity and balance is why resiliency is the primary pillar. It’s possible to strengthen and further develop your child’s resiliency at any age, however as children are most adaptable early in life, the earlier you can support this development of coping skills and protective experiences, the earlier you’re setting them up for success.

Authenticity can mean many different things to many different people. How many times as a parent have you said to your child “Just be yourself”? Maybe you said this to them when they were nervous on their first day of school, or maybe it was when they were going on their first play date alone at a friend’s house. If the concept of “who am I” is something that many adults struggle with, how do we expect our children to understand how to be themselves without guidance? The foundation of authenticity is built upon self-trust. Authenticity is your child having the ability to recognise, honour, and trust their feelings (both good and bad), and then act in a way that is consistent with their values. This is something that they start learning as an infant when they express their emotions in raw ways and work through self-soothing in those times. Your child continues to learn as they become consciously aware of what the different emotions are and how these feel in their bodies.

The final of the three pillars is entrepreneurial spirit. At one point or another, we’ve all heard a child say “when I grow up I want to be…”. These ideas your child shares may be perceived as being big dreams and potentially unachievable. However, this is an important time for your child as they are learning from your reactions and modelling as parents. Entrepreneurial spirit is about your child’s innate creativity, self-motivation, drive to chase their dreams, willingness to take risks, and being resilient in the face of failure. If you think of each part of this definition, these are all fundamental life skills that assist us in succeeding in all facets of our lives; work, home, socially, and so on. Your self-motivation underpins showing up at the gym each week, your creativity shows in the beautiful décor you selected to create your home, and your ability to be resilient in the face of failure is something you may have experienced when learning to drive a car or to do anything for the first time.

As I’m sure you would agree, these three pillars are critical for your child to succeed in life. This book will help you create a lifestyle for your child that is filled with wonder. It will show you how to give the gifts of resiliency, authenticity, and entrepreneurial spirit through fundamental learnings.

[1] Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, Black Dog Institute, published May 2021

[2] The National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, National Mental Health Commission, Australian Government, published October 2021

[3] von Klitzing, K., Dohnert, M., Kroll, M., & Grube, M. (2015). Mental disorders in early childhood. Deutsches Arzteblatt International, 112, 375–386

[4] Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing, Black Dog Institute, published May 2021

[5] Dr Justin Coulson, Enough: Overcoming Anxiety, Perfectionism, & Self Loathing, published 18 Sept 2023


bottom of page