Dr Rosina quoted in article on The Anti-Princess Club - The Daily Telegraph

The Anti-Princess Club: Writer mum creates girls’ book series minus the princesses


It’s all about a balanced approach to raising children and empowering them with the life skills they need to lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives
— Parenting expert Dr Rosina McAlpine

WHEN Samantha Turnbull went looking for inspiring books for her little girl Liberty she found nothing but princesses and fairies.

Shocked at what she described as the “princessification” of everything and anything aimed at young girls right down to the newborn level, she decided to do something about it.

The result is The Anti-Princess Club, a new book that has old-school princess stereotypes firmly in its sights.

“I went to the department store to buy some books for my daughter when she was only a few months old and there was not a single book that didn’t have a princess or a fairy,” she said.

“I wanted to show her that there was more than one way to being a girl.”

Raising a happy healthy child in the 21st Century - CPA Australia

Deborah Tarrant interviews Dr Rosina McAlpine for CPA Australia’s In the Black Magazine. Upon becoming a mother in 2007, Dr Rosina turned to the parenting books for help. Finding a dearth of research-based parenting books and no programs available to help her child develop the key life skills for children, Dr Rosina created the Inspired Children online parenting course where parents can teach their children life skills like resilience, making friends and managing emotions in just 15 minutes at a time. 

Raising can do kids - Herald Sun Article

Published in Herald Sun Saturday, February 19,2011 

PARENTING - Raising can-do kids by Cheryl Critchley

Work demands are denying many parents the opportunity to develop vital life skills in their children, writes Cheryl Critchley

Sadly, many parents are now too busy to parent. I’m not talking about using childcare, but about outsourcing almost anything that involves time and effort, such as birthday parties, exercise and even mental stimulation.

These are the sorts of things we should be doing with our kids, developing our relationship and helping them gain life skills.

But unfortunately, when both parents work full-time, it is easy to pay someone else to organise your party or teach your child art or how to kick a footy.

We’ve had more than our share of McDonald’s birthday parties and bought costumes and food for special days rather than make them together.  A hectic work schedule also meant bike rides and park plays were few and far between. Things have improved since I changed my work situation, but few families can afford a big pay cut to balance their lifestyle. So what do you do?

University educator, researcher and mother Dr Rosina McAlpine believes many parents now sit at the extremes and are either overprotective or take little interest in their child’s development.  McAlpine developed an affordable program helping parents reach that middle ground. Inspired Children uses 15-minute activities twice a week over a year. Children develop skills and personal qualities such as self esteem, resilience, communication, play and creativity.

“Parents and children have such busy lives that I felt 15 minutes two times per week was reasonable and could be achieved,” McAlpine says. 

“The aim of each activity is to introduce a life skill that will continue to be developed through experience and reflection and further activities in the program.”

In one game the parent lets the child win and talks about what it means to lose, be resilient and not achieve what you want in life. The child then loses and talks about how they feel.

“It is all about awareness, experience and role modelling by the parent,” McAlpine says.

“Many parents let their children win every game  - they don't get to experience losing and life is just not like that.” 

McAlpine says many of her tips are common sense strategies all parents can learn but are often too time poor to attend courses or read books
“Everything I include is available in the world to every parent by talking with other mothers, reading books, attending free parenting courses/seminars or surfing the internet,” she says.

In an ideal world all parents would make the time to learn strategies in areas they may be lacking in.  But we know it isn’t that simple and easy to follow programs like this are better than letting things slip.
As Mc Alpine says, we don’t want a generation of young people who can’t do anything for themselves. She sees this all the time as a university teacher. She sees this all the time as a university teacher.

“I’ve been a university lecturer for over 20 years and I can’t tell you how many times I have heard my first year students say things like ... ‘I don’t know how to cook’. ‘I’m sick of living off two minute noodles and takeaway’ … ‘I feel really lonely and depressed’ … (or) ‘I’ve just failed my exam and I’ve never failed anything in my life. I can’t cope’,” she says.

Some parents make excuses for their offspring, such as saying they have so much pressure to succeed at school that they shouldn’t have to do housework. But McAlpine says parenting is about helping children prepare for life. 

“To live a full, happy and balanced life children need to develop key life skills and personal attributes like good self esteem, resilience, communication skills, the ability to set and achieve goals, personal and home cleanliness and an understanding of health, wellbeing  - the list goes on.” 

Building resilience

  • Discourage negative self-talk when something goes wrong like a bad exam result. 
  • Encourage children to look at the positives and move forward.
  • Tell them everyone makes mistakes and we can all learn from them.
  • Role play situations that could go wrong at school, like a toilet accident or teasing and work through coping strategies with them.
  • Teach them life skills such as how to cook and manage money.
  • Develop their social and environmental awareness.
  • Encourage their communication skills, creativity and imagination.

3 Steps to a Happy, Confident Child - Woman's Day

By Dr Rosina McAlpine

Article published in Woman’s Day Magazine, 31 January 2011.

Child development expert Dr Rosina McAlpine shows how to boost your child’s confidence and beat the back-to-school stress.

STEP 1: Use Actions Not Words

How often have you said, “Not now, I’m on the phone” or “I’m too busy”? 
“Most parents are very busy, which adds to the stress of dealing with children,” Dr Rosina McAlpine says. “But how would you feel if someone talked to you that way? It’s important to let your kids know you value their opinions as much as anyone else’s” Instead of hurting your child’s feelings, try these solutions:

On the phone Ask the person to hold, then say to your child “I’m very interested in what you have to say but I can’t talk now. I’ll be off the phone in ten minutes and we’ll talk then.”

When busy “Sorry darling I’m busy doing something for work. Let’s talk about it at dinner.”

When cooking “I can’t talk now because it’s dangerous with a hot stove and I don’t want you to get hurt.”

STEP 2: Focus on the Behaviour Not the Child

Biting. Hitting. Nose picking. Ignoring requests. Children do so many things adults find unacceptable and often our automatic reaction is to say “You’re so naughty” or “You’re so cheeky/rude/bad”. 
“Try focussing on their behaviour rather than them” Says Dr McAlpine. “For example say ‘biting hurts. It is not OK to bite/speak in that tone/be rude’. Children who feel good about themselves are more likely to try new things and are less likely to be defensive or insecure. Regularly telling a child they’re naughty might mean they believe it for life.”

Child development expert Dr Rosina McAlpine shows how to boost your child’s confidence and beat the back-to-school stress.

STEP 3: Teach your child Gratitude

A grateful attitude can reduce depression and make children aware of what is important to their true happiness, research shows. Teach your child to be grateful by:

Keeping a journal Ask them to record the things they love about their life. They can use words, pictures, stickers - whatever they like.

Bedtime thank-you “Invite your child to share who and what they are grateful for. It’s a lovely way to go to sleep” says Dr McAlpine.