Four leading experts from Australia and overseas unpack some of the key challenges facing parents & people who work with children.

Maggie Dent

Parenting author, educator & resilience specialist

Dr Vanessa Lapointe

Author of
Discipline Without Damage

Dr Kristy Goodwin

Author of
Raising Your Child in a Digital World

Dr Justin Coulson

Author of
21 Days to a Happier Family

Raising young children is increasingly challenging in a world that’s moving faster than ever before. We are often time-poor and information-overloaded, and our children are statistically fatter, sadder, more anxious and struggling emotionally and socially.

Maggie Dent has brought together some of her favourite experts to explore many of the major issues that families face, which in turn can make care, education and learning more challenging. The conference will focus on the important things that every family can do to help their children shine.

Some of the stuff they will cover includes:

  • Disciplining your kids without messing them up 

  • Making the transition to school successfully 

  • Connecting to kids even when they’re challenging 

  • Understanding facts not fears about what technology is doing to our kids 

  • Helping kids with self-regulation 

  • Using technology in a healthy way – and stopping the fights! 

  • Getting kids to listen (so you can stop yelling) 

  • Understanding the unique needs and challenges of boys 

  • Managing hot-button issues like sibling conflict, school & chores. 

  • Supporting boys with getting to and through school. 


Our speakers are not just authorities in their field – they are parents and/or grandparents who are navigating these challenges in their own homes right now. 

Attending for professional reasons?

Please note all ECEs/EYEs, educators and allied health professionals who register for the conference will receive a downloadable bundle of resources that can be used in their practice (don’t worry parents, you will receive some surprise bonuses too!). For early years’ educators: The content will be aligned with NQS Outcomes.

Dr Vanessa Lapointe

Discipline Without Damage

When your child is threatening a meltdown in the grocery aisle, is it really possible to keep your cool, get the behaviour turned around, and support healthy development, all at the same time?!

This presentation from British Columbian author, parenting educator and registered psychologist Dr Vanessa LaPointe will demonstrate that it is indeed. Parents, caregivers and big people of all kinds will discover how discipline affects children’s development, why our reactions to children’s behaviour should reinforce connection instead of introduce more upset, and why the disciplinary strategies that may have been used on us as children are not the ones that children really need.

About Dr Vanessa Lapointe

In Vanessa’s presentation you’ll also learn:

  • How the concept of “childhood” has been understood in different ways historically and why we must understand it anew today.
  • The basic and impactful truth behind Dr. Vanessa’s mantra “See it, feel it, be it.”
  • The foundation of a healthy, effective approach to discipline that respects your child’s developmental needs… and works!

More about Dr Vanessa

Dr Vanessa Lapointe is an author, parenting educator, and registered psychologist (British Columbia #1856) who has been supporting families and children for more than 15 years. Vanessa is the author of Discipline without Damage: How to get your kids to behave without messing them up, a regularly invited media guest and contributor, educator and speaker, a Huffington Post Parent blogger, and a consultant to research projects and various organisations promoting emotional health and development.

Dr. Vanessa is known for bringing a sense of nurturing understanding and humanity to all of her work. She presently works in private practice and has previous experience in a variety of settings, including the British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development and the school system. Dr. Vanessa’s passion is in walking alongside parents, teachers, care providers, and other big people to really see the world through the child’s eyes. She believes that if we can do this, we are beautifully positioned to grow up our children in the best possible way. As a mother to two growing children, Dr. Vanessa strives not only professionally, but also personally, to view the world through the child’s eyes.

Dr Justin Coulson

10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know

This session on 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know draws on the experience of popular speaker, bestselling author and Kidspot parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson. Dr Justin sheds light on positive, simple and effective secrets for the challenging issues parents of 2-12 year olds confront in everyday family life. You’ll hear strategies for how to get kids to really listen (so you can stop yelling), how to really understand your kids, and how to manage hot-button issues such as sibling conflict, chores and school – yet still have fun as a family.

As a psychologist, author, advisor on wellbeing and relationships, and father of six daughters, Dr Justin is perfectly positioned to share his experience and knowledge with parents and professionals alike.

After a successful radio career Justin Coulson returned to school in his late 20s where he earned his psychology degree from The University of Queensland and his PhD in psychology from The University of Wollongong. 

Since then he has written multiple peer-reviewed journal articles and scholarly book chapters, as well as several books and ebooks about parenting, including 21 Days to a Happier Family (Harper Collins, 2016) and 9 Ways to a Resilient Child (Harper Collins, 2017). 

Justin is also a highly sought-after international speaker delivering keynote speeches and workshops to boost wellbeing and improve relationships for parents, teachers, students and employees and students. 

He has worked with The Commonwealth Bank, American Express, The Federal Government’s Department of Social Services, Life Education, and hundreds of schools. 

Justin is an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Positive Psychology in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. He is a consultant to the Federal Government’s Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, and has acted (and continues to act) in an advisory capacity to well-known organisations including Beyond Blue, the Raising Children Network, Intel Security, and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. 

In addition, Justin is consistently sought after by the media for his expertise, and he is the parenting expert at, Australia’s number one parenting website. 

Justin and his wife Kylie have six daughters (yes six!) and live in Queensland. Together they have successfully taught their children to sleep in their own beds, wear clothing even when it’s hot, use the bathroom, and eat at least some of the food on their plate most of the time.

Dr Kristy Goodwin

Raising Your Child in a Digital World

No-one would argue that today’s young children are growing up under the weight of a tsunami of screens. Dr Kristy Goodwin is one of Australia’s leading digital parenting experts (and mum who also deals with her kids’ techno-tantrums!). She’s the author of Raising Your Child in a Digital World, speaker and researcher.

In this session, Kristy will help parents and professionals find the best way to use technology to support, not stifle, kids’ health, learning and development. She will arm you with:

  • Guidance (not guilt) about how much screen-time is healthy and provide a simple formula to calculate limits
  • Realistic tips for managing screen time (based on science)
  • Simple and effective strategies to prevent techno-tantrums
  • Facts about how technology is changing the way kids learn and develop (including sleep, attention spans, plan, language skills, and more).

Dr Kristy Goodwin is one of Australia’s leading digital parenting experts (and mum who also deals with her kids’ techno-tantrums!). She’s the author of Raising Your Child in a Digital World, speaker and researcher. Kristy worked as a primary school and early childhood educator for 14 years before becoming an academic. She has worked with clients including Apple, Nickelodeon Channel, the National Broadband Network, McDonalds, NSW Department of Education and Optus, she’s spoken at national and international conferences and at childcare centres and schools throughout Australia.

Kristy is regularly called upon by the media to translate the latest research about kids and screens into practical and relevant information for worried parents and professionals. Dr Kristy takes the guesswork and guilt out of raising kids in the digital age (without suggesting that parents or educators need to ban the iPad or unplug the TV).

She provides parents and professionals with facts, not fears, about how screens are impacting on children’s health, learning, wellbeing and development.

And our conference host…

Maggie Dent

Dear Little Boys: Giving Boys a Great Start

Maggie Dent has become one of Australia’s favourite parenting authors and speakers for her capacity to blend current research and common-sense wisdom with a good a dose of humour. In this presentation Maggie, a former teacher and counsellor who has four adult sons, takes a close look at decoding what boys need at home and at school to thrive. She discusses many aspects of raising boys, including building character, temperament, communication, risk-taking, the importance of activity and play, failure, anger, how to discipline boys without shaming them, and much more. Even though this presentation focuses on boys (who statistically fare much worse than our girls at school), the information will be useful and enlightening to all parents and educators.

Commonly known as the ‘queen of common sense’, Maggie Dent has become one of Australia’s favourite parenting authors and educators, with a particular interest in the early years, adolescence and resilience. 

Maggie’s experience includes working for almost two decades as a secondary teacher before moving into counselling, and working in the palliative care/funeral services and suicide prevention.  

Maggie is an advocate for the healthy, common-sense raising of children in order to strengthen families and communities. She is a passionate, positive voice for children of all ages — which is why she is bringing this conference around Australia.  

Now an in-demand writer and speaker, Maggie is a regular contributor to Fairfax’s Essential Kids website and she can often be heard on commercial and ABC radio around the country including Nova 937. She has also contributed regularly to education and parenting blogs and magazines, and appears on national TV programs. 

Maggie is the author of ten books, several e-books and a prolific creator of resources for parents, adolescents, teachers and early childhood educators, and others who are interested in quietly improving their lives.   

Her books include Saving Our Children From Our Chaotic World, Real Kids in an Unreal World and 9 Things: A back-to-basics guide to calm, common-sense, connected parenting Birth-8 

Maggie is the proud mother of four wonderful sons, and an enthusiastic and grateful grandmother. 

She is an ambassador for Telethon in WA, a trust established 50 years ago to financially support the medical & social welfare of children and which funds research into children’s diseases. Maggie is also a proud ambassador for Smiling Mind a not-for-profit web and app-based meditation program whose goal is to have mindfulness on the Australian Curriculum by 2020. She is also the patron of Bold Park Community School in Perth, which is a leading light in engaged learning especially with a nature-based pedagogy. 

BA, DipEd, DipCounselling


Dr Vanessa Lapointe

Morning Tea

Maggie Dent


Dr Kristy Goodwin

Quick brain break/mindfulness activity

Dr Justin Coulson

Door prizes and farewell

All participants will also receive a conference handout and a downloadable resource bundle worth up to $60, which includes eBooks and audio downloads from Maggie Dent for you to
use in your centre, clinic, classroom or home.


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