Emerging Minds

Engaging with parents

About the course

This course introduces you to ways that you can actively and effectively engage with parents about their children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

As you work through the course, you will strengthen your understanding of factors and circumstances that impact on a child’s social and emotional wellbeing, and the role you can play as a practitioner to engage with and support parents in their parenting role so that they can support their children’s mental health.

You will also have the opportunity to:

  • reflect on your own current setting, practice, and what you generally aim to achieve when you meet with and engage with parents
  • focus on what is meant by parent engagement, why it is important in supporting the mental health outcomes for children, and what parents say about engagement
  • consider professional and parental factors that may impact on parent engagement
  • consider and reflect on your own professional response to complexity in clients or families you are working with so that you can better understand the role you can play in early intervention and prevention to support child mental health.


Who is this course for?

The course is for practitioners working in services focused on infants and children, and services focused on parents and guardians, in the health and social services sectors. It encourages practitioners to reflect on how they can effectively engage parents in service settings where their primary clients are:

  • adults in a service setting where parenting is not a routine focus of support or treatment
  • children in a service setting where active partnership with parents to promote children’s mental health is not a routine focus of support or treatment
  • parents in Parenting Support programs.

Learning aims

You will have the opportunity throughout this course to reflect on your current practice of engaging with parents about their children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

You will be encouraged to identify your practice ethics and areas of strength, as well as areas where you see room for professional development. Evidence based information and approaches will be presented for you to consider and potentially use to enhance and strengthen your practice to include a focus on how you might support parents in their role of strengthening the social and emotional wellbeing of their child.

In doing this, you will also have the opportunity to develop how you might respond to some common concerns experienced by Australian parents, as depicted in fictional scenarios.


It is estimated that this course will take you two hours to complete, including reading material and watching videos.

You can undertake the course across multiple sessions at your own pace. The last screen you visit before logging off will be bookmarked, and you will have the option of returning to that screen when you next log in.


This course features videos of fictional parents and family scenarios. As you work through the course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed:

  • We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you don’t feel that you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later.
  • Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course, and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset. For example, consider taking a break and doing something for yourself that you enjoy.
  • Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course.

If at any point you find you are struggling, please talk with your supervisor, seek help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263.


For the purpose of this course, the term parent encompasses the biological and adoptive parents of a child as well as individuals who have chosen to take up a primary or shared responsibility in raising that child. 

The term parent engagement can be understood in two ways, both of which are of interest as we present this course: 

  • Effective engagement with clients as individuals (who are also parents).
  • Engagement with clients specifically about their role as a parent, including any challenges, successes or concerns they experience regarding their children.

Social and emotional wellbeing refers to the way a person thinks and feels about themselves and others. Social and emotional wellbeing incorporates behavioural and emotional strengths. Social and emotional wellbeing is integral to child development.1

In broad terms, social and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for physical and mental health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is a holistic concept which results from a network of relationships between individuals, family, kin and Community. It also recognises the importance of connection to Land, culture, spirituality and ancestry, and how these affect the individual.2

Social development and emotional development are often referred to as a single concept (i.e. social and emotional development). This is because of the strong link between these two developmental domains.

Emotional development is the 'ability to identify and understand one’s feelings, to accurately read and comprehend emotional states in others, to manage strong emotions and their expression in a constructive manner, to regulate one’s own behaviour, to develop empathy for others, and to establish and sustain relationships'.3

The abilities associated with emotional development form the basis of social competence, which is, in turn, linked to emotional wellbeing.3


This course draws on the latest research, clinical insights, and the lived experience of our child and family partners. We’d like to thank the professionals and families who played an integral role in shaping this course, generously offering their time, wisdom and unique perspectives.

A quick guide to Emerging Minds Learning

Watch the following video for a quick guide on how to navigate Emerging Minds Learning courses.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Social and emotional wellbeing: development of a Children’s Headline Indicator. Cat. no. PHE 158. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Commonwealth of Australia. (2017). National strategic framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. Canberra: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, p.6.
  3. National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2004). Children’s emotional development is built into the architecture of their brains: Working paper no. 2. Harvard University.

Ready to start learning?

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