Tag: Kimberley O’Brien

Media wrap-up

No Comments

Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Below is our Media Wrap-up and latest media appearances for the last few months. Kimberley O’Brien and the Quirky Kid contributed with the following publications to explore topics of interest of parents and their families.2GB Radio and  The Ray Hadley Morning Show spoken with Kimberley O’Brien on how to talk to kids about a disaster

  • 2GB Radio and  The Ray Hadley Morning Show spoken with Kimberley O’Brien on how to talk to kids about a disaster
  • 2sm FM Radio in Sydney also contacted us about the US shooting.
  • SMH Reporter Stephanie Gardiner spoken with us regarding the possible trauma experience children and adolescents may experience when attending to court following a particular event.
  • The Daily Telegraph and News.com.au report Richard Noone spoke with us regarding children and trauma following the US Shottig
  • ABC 3 contacted us to gain some insight into Kids and stress for they series : My Big Adventure. Check out this great resource with videos and interviews
  • The Morning Show invited us into the studios to talk about Gifted Children
  • The Australian Associated Press discussed with us ” How to raise a culture child?”
  • Kate Walsh from The Illawara Mercury contact us to write a story about Social Skills inspired on our Social Skills program, The Best of Friends.
  • 2UE radio presenter Martine Drewe also contacted us to talk bout parent-child relationship
  • Women’s Weekly reporter discussed with Kimberley how to manage step-parenting
  • WIN News in the Illawarra visited our Austinmer office to interview Kimberley on children and obesity.
  • Practical Parenting parenting sent us a very long questionnaire on Toddler and changes
  • ABC Radio Sydney had a chat with Kimberley about Kids and Social media
  • more to come….

If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.

Positive Schools & Educador conferences

No Comments

Posted on by Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

Quirky Kid enjoyed a few whirlwind trips in May for three exceptional conferences in the field of education. One in Sao Paulo, one in Fremantle and one in Melbourne and they were all excellent for different reasons.

Brazil Conference

‘Educador’ in Brazil with over 14000 people in attendance was a major event with a very social atmosphere. It was an exciting opportunity to meet other speakers and to experience using translators for the first time in the context of a seminar with 400 kindhearted participants.

I was overwhelmed to have a line up of lovely teachers asking for a photo together after my presentation. After months of preparation, it was one of most unique highlights of my life to be a part of this thriving education community! QK are thrilled to accept their invitation to return in 2013.

All images by Andreia Naomi e da Futuro Eventos

The local media and prestigious local magazine the Revista Veja, also spoken with Kimberley. Kimberley also discussed the conference topic with a post on Families-school relationship.

Positive Schools

Positive Schools in Fremantle was a great opportunity to talk with teachers working in Western Australia, many of whom are based in remote communities working with indigenous children with limited classroom support. I was pleased to hear the visual resources developed by QK have been well-received and there was particular interest in the new “Tickets” reward system to revamp old behaviour management patterns.

This conference was also an opportunity to connect with the lovely ACER representatives selling our resources and to provide more tips on how to apply them in diverse settings.


The Melbourne Positive Schools conference was held at the exquisite Melbourne Convention Centre and the auditorium was absolutely slick! Positive Schools was my chance to listen to Michael Carr-Gregg and Andrew Fuller, Bernadette Black and other similarly inspiring colleagues I rarely meet in person. I look forward to delivering more video footage of young people on the big screen next year. Overall, the May conferences were an adrenaline boost with an ample serving of special new contacts – Thank you!


Media Wrap-up

No Comments

Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

The Quirky Kid Clinic provides the media with commentary and advice on child, adolescent and family related issues.

Below is the list of articles and segments we have been contributing over the last few months.

  • Reporter Tanya Paolucci from the Illawarra Mercury discuss with Kimberley  the importance of ‘extra curricular’ activities for the mental and physical development of babies and toddlers.
  • Evelyn Yamine from The Sunday Telegraph discussed ‘back to school blues’ and children social skills’ with Kimberley O;Brien.
  • Host Red Symonds from 774 ABC Melbourne discussed with Kimberley ‘Children and Television’ and media usage.
  • Harry Ledowsky  on ‘Thursday morning radio show on FM99.3,  discussed “children’s social skills being stunted by screen addiction” with Kimberley.
  • SMH reporter Stephanie Gardiner discussed the many incidents involving adolescent boys  and investigated what fuels risk taking behavior in adolescence.
  • Woolworth Baby and Toddler club spoke with Kimberley and Quirky Kid about toddlers milestones. The article is full of useful information and advise for parents. There was a follow up articles well about 3 to 4 years old toddlers.
  • Julie Tyers contacted us for an article for Practical Parenting Magazine about ‘bringing up your children when you do not have support’.
  • Jennifer Moron discussed with Kimberley about  issues concerning children’s attachments to dummies, blankets and toys for the Australian Family Magazine
  • SMH report Amy McNeile discusses peer pressure with Kimberley after a tragic accident in the US.

There are lots other interviews and we will be trying to upload it here once they are out. You can contact us on 02 9362 9297 to schedule an interview.

 } else {

Family, Society and School: Where do we want to go?

No Comments

Posted on by Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

“Family, Society and School: Where do we want to go?” is the theme of the May 2012 Education conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, attracting 15,000 educators from around the world and as the only Australian speaker, I am nervous! Apparently, I will be fielding questions from the audience pertaining to the cooperative relationship between schools and families, otherwise known as Family-School relations.

Family-School relations differ between schools and between families. Some families are very involved, others are not. Some schools throw their doors open to parent volunteers, others do not. The question of, “where do we want to go?” encourages us to develop an ideal scenario for our children, incorporating the positive input of families, schools and greater society.

The Best Case Scenario

In my opinion, the best case scenario for primary school students is to see their parents regularly interacting with teachers, other parents and students in the school grounds. Similarly, I like the concept of parent volunteers in the classroom for reading support, weekend working bees in the school vegetable garden to generate a sense of belonging at school, as well as open communication between educators and parents on any given day. Younger siblings who feel welcome in playgrounds with parental supervision are more likely to experience an easy transition from home to school upon commencing Kindergarten.

The Reality

In reality, our child psychology clinic commonly receives referrals from frustrated parents seeking support when their children are refusing to attend school, or when both parent and child would like to change schools after months or years of family-school conflict. Other parents report strict school policies limiting parent-teacher contact to avoid a bottle-neck of parental traffic in classrooms before and after school. We also work with the parents of children with diagnosed Learning Disabilities or an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These families most regularly request classroom or playground observations. Some mothers sing the praises of schools, doing everything possible to increase classroom support for their child and others reports teachers have suggested they seek out another school option to gain more appropriate support.

Inside a Brazilian School

The Quirky Kid Clinic started researching school culture in 2006 as part of the School Days Project. The video below offers insight into what a school in Brazil looks like, through the eye of 10 year old, Riana, a student from Curitiba in Southern Brazil.


When parents disengage

A global perspective on Family-School relations suggest many schools are struggling to receive any support from parents. In Northern Brazil, for example, teachers often report minimal involvement from parents despite their attempts to make contact, particularly when there are large sibling groups attending the local school. In some cases, parents are working long hours to support their large families while others with limited educational opportunities in their own childhood, may lack confidence and avoid engaging with teachers.

There are many reasons parents disengage with teachers and this phenomenon is common across all socioeconomic groups. How many time-poor parents in Australia put school activities on the bottom of their agenda? And how many others find the active parent community overzealous and off-putting? Most importantly, how can we reach all parents and teachers in a meaningful way to ensure a common connection in the interest of the student community?

When I ask the young clients I work with about their family’s involvement with the school, they commonly report their parent’s opinion of the school, stating, “Mum wants me to change schools because my teacher won’t tell us anything”. In my experience, when parents have a negative opinion of the school, the teacher or the homework policy; students typically follows suit, with an identically negative opinion. Mental note, never put a teacher down in the presence of a child! Parental opinions count, at least in the eyes of your school-aged children.

Research findings

Educational psychology research emphasizes the importance of consistency between home and school to increase a child’s sense of stability in both settings. A student’s connection to school is increased with parental involvement in activities such as reading support or canteen duty. Students with a sense of stability and connection to school are less inclined to ‘drop-out’ of school or struggle with academic motivation. Parental motivation to become involved in school activities is similarly relevant in this story, as a means of modeling a positive life skill to young people.

Generating change in Family-School relations

School events, such as a disco, fete or sports carnival often generate support from parents when resources are limited. Importantly, parents have the capacity to positively influence the school-family relationship. An active parent community will generate ideas for fundraising or similar and delegate jobs between themselves. Schools soon learn the value of this input. Alternatively, schools wishing to generate more parental involvement would do well to promote the benefits by acknowledging families for their participation while providing diverse opportunities to appeal to a broad range of skills, from gardeners to craft assistants. Parents who volunteer to assist with sports or weeding at school, typically report the benefits of physical activity as well as fostering the parent-child relationship. Being present at school is also an opportunity for parents to observe their child’s friendships; to gain insight into teaching techniques and to gain confidence within the school community.  Making a start on Family-School relations requires both parents and teachers to find traction and build momentum before the results become clear.


So, family, society and school: where do we want to go? My aim is to be part of a supportive, functional and resourceful community where educational aspirations are achieved and dreams are encouraged. Every school could be a microcosm of the same ‘warmth and generosity’, demonstrated by the most committed and kind-hearted teachers and school volunteers. The ones who dig deep within themselves to present all children with a world of opportunities and unwavering stability. But let’s not forget to mention the potential of time-poor working parents, who would love nothing more than to volunteer and see more of their school-aged children! By making the family-school relationship a priority in our society, children not only have the pleasure of recognizing a familiar family face in the school crowd; we also begin to work towards a common goal.


Media wrap-up

No Comments

Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Below is our Media Wrap-up for the months of October to December 2011.

Kimberley O’Brien and the Quirky Kid Contribute with the following publications to explore topics of interest of parents and their families.

  • Practical Parenting: How to answer those tricky toddler questions. This useful article by Lauren Monaghan ask Kimberley all questions about Santa from Babies on Q & A Format.
  • John Blackman from 3AW discussed the question: ‘ Should children be given cash for Christmas?
  • ABC’s Organic Garden Magazine discussed with us the importance of outdoor play.
  • The Sunday Telegraph run a story about the Quirky Kid Tickets and asked parents about how they find this tool.
  • Practical Parenting: reporter Astha Gupta discussed with Kimberley the very important topic of ‘Coping after a Baby’
  • Girl Friend Magazine: Reporter Rebecca Wish discussed supporting friendships.
  • Good Health Magazine: Reporter Melanie Hearse discussed the topic of adult children returning to the family home and explored questions, planing.
  • Seven News: Reporter Imogen Ball discussed children discipline with Kimberley based on a new research that as recently published.
  • Woman’s Health Magazine: Deputy Editor Georgia Rickard discussed the use of visualization and its effectiveness as a goal setting.

If you have a story and would like to discuss it with us, please contact us to schedule a time. Kimberley O’Brien enjoys sharing the best of her therapeutic moments with the media. View our media appearances to-date.