Lifeboat for struggling parents


Areeg Madanat, here with her children Joelle (5), Peter (3) and Antoine (7), found the help she needed at the Westminster Child and Parent Centre.
Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au   d449724
Areeg Madanat, here with her children Joelle (5), Peter (3) and Antoine (7), found the help she needed at the Westminster Child and Parent Centre. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        www.communitypix.com.au d449724

The mother of three said she was lonely and unsure of how to connect until she joined the Westminster Child and Parent Centre.

“I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know any places in the area until I found the centre,” she said.

“The centre is like my home – I can find everything here, I found peace, I found safety and an inviting place for my kids.”

The Child and Parent Centre is a State Government initiative run by children’s charity The Smith Family in partnership with Westminster Junior Primary School.

The Westminster centre is one of 21 in WA providing support for isolated parents.

Mrs Madanat said when she first arrived in Australia it was a culture shock and she felt extremely isolated while her husband was working long hours.

“I wasn’t talking to anyone because I didn’t know the people here, I didn’t know the way they thought, I didn’t know if people would be friendly or not,” she said.

“I was lonely and very sad, I was trying to be a strong mother but I couldn’t be.

“It was here that I met my best friend – this really changed my life.”

Department of Education School Psychology Services manager Chris Gostelow said child and parent centres played a vital role in reducing social isolation and helping parents learn about positive parenting.

“If parents feel accepted by and connected to the community it is more likely that their children will also feel a sense of belonging in school,” Mr Gostelow said.

The Westminster Child and Parent Centre will hold a new group Let’s Connect on Friday afternoons from 12.30-2.30pm.