Enhancement of emotion-focused parenting skills to support the wellbeing and resilience of children following a natural disaster

Jessica Shonk, Georgia Krones, Michael Curtin, Tracey Parnell

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Following a natural disaster, children’s behaviour and mood may change significantly and unexpectedly. Parents/carers may require assistance to be able to respond to these changes appropriately, which may be partly due to their own response to the disaster. Royal Far West developed and delivered an online, trauma-informed version of the emotion-focused parenting program, Tuning In To Kids (TIK), to families living in communities impacted by natural disasters. This Program incorporated trauma-informed psychoeducation strategies and principles to develop emotion coaching knowledge and skills to support the connection between parent/carer and child, in turn supporting the wellbeing and resilience of the child.
Parents/carers from New South Wales communities in Australia that were impacted by 2019/2020 bushfires were referred to TIK through multiple sources. Many of these parents/carers were subsequently impacted by COVID-19 and floods. Referred parents/carers underwent an intake process to determine their readiness for the Program, begin to build trust between facilitators and parents/carers, create an emotionally safe environment, and manage expectations. Following the intake process parents/carers attended an online version of the trauma-informed TIK program that was delivered weekly for up to eight weeks. A maximum of eight parents participated in each group. During 2021 and 2022, seven TIK groups were facilitated by allied health clinicians. At the completion of the TIK Program all parents were asked to complete an online survey reflecting on their experiences of the Program.
Twenty-five of the twenty-five parents/carers who participated in the TIK program in 2021 and 2022 all completed the online survey. Six parents/carers had children aged between 5-7 years and 13 had children between the ages of 8-11 years; three parents/carers stated their child identified as First Nations. Most parents/carers found the pre-group individual appointment very or extremely helpful, and all parents were satisfied or very satisfied with the TIK program. Three parents/carers indicated they found the online format of the program very uncomfortable, and six parents/carers stated they found it difficult to carry out the methods of emotional coaching. However, most parents/carers indicated they felt heard by the facilitators, learnt new and helpful ways to understand and respond to their children, were more confident in connecting emotionally with their children, and had a greater understanding of their own emotional needs. All parents/carers indicated there were positive changes in their children since participating in the program.
The trauma-informed focus of this Program enabled parents/carers to develop their understanding of the impact of the bushfire and other natural disasters on their children. This understanding enhanced the anticipated outcomes of the TIK program in providing parents/carers with the skills and strategies to emotionally connect with their children and support their wellbeing and resilience. The inclusion of trauma-informed strategies as part of emotion-focused parenting programs, such as TIK, can play a key role in the enhancement of parenting skills that support the wellbeing and resilience of children following a natural disaster.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 06 Jun 2023
EventInternational Congress on Evidence-Based Parenting Support 2023: I-CEPS 2023 - Online
Duration: 06 Jun 202309 Jun 2023
https://i-ceps.pafra.org/program-2023 (Program and abstracts)


ConferenceInternational Congress on Evidence-Based Parenting Support 2023
Abbreviated titleInspiring global parenting support
OtherThe International Congress on Evidence-based Parenting Support aims to inspire global collective action to improve access to high-quality, evidence-based, and culturally appropriate parenting support, to benefit children and young people everywhere.
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhancement of emotion-focused parenting skills to support the wellbeing and resilience of children following a natural disaster'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this