Our research expertise

Parents play a crucial role in a child's healthy development and socialisation and most parents do a good job to help their children to grow up and lead fulfilling lives. The social expectations on parents to fulfil their responsibilities are enormous. When things go wrong it is easy to blame parents however parenting does not occur in a social vacuum; it is influenced by the wider social, economic and political context . It is not just an individual parent's characteristics but a host of complex influences, such as the characteristics of the child, access to support networks and the nature of parents' relationships, which interact to affect parenting practices and the outcomes for children.

Research on parenting is a topic of significant expertise at AIFS. Some of the areas we have looked at include:

  • work and family
  • post-separation parenting
  • parenting and cultural backgrounds
  • caring for children outside of school hours
  • parental concerns and unsupervised time.

Current projects

Australian Temperament Project
For over 30 years the Australian Temperament Project (ATP) longitudinal study has followed the development of a large group of Victorian children from infancy to adulthood, and is now following their children.

Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children
Topics analysed using LSAC data include: co-parenting, children's views of their parents jobs, parenting practices and behaviours, parenting and children's school attendance and parental mental health.

Child Family Community Australia
The CFCA is an information exchange for professionals working with children, families and communities.

Selected publications

Parenting influences adolescent alcohol use
This report reviews and synthesises the research and interventions concerning the impact of parenting factors on adolescent alcohol use.

Caring for children after separation or divorce
This article examines the effect of separation and divorce on children and what the absence of a parent can mean for a child.

A safe and supportive family environment for children: key components and links to child outcomes
Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, this report aims to understand more about the prevalence of different types of family environments in society and to explore the influence of these environments on different child outcomes. The family environment was most strongly associated with children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Fathers' involvement in the lives of their children: Separated parents' preferences
This article is from The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Annual statistical report 2013.

Did you know ...

Grandparents provide child care for almost one-third of children of working parents.

(Source: ABS)


Galina Daraganova
Executive Manager | Longitudinal Studies | Data Linkage and Integrating Authority

Jennifer Baxter
Senior Research Fellow

Lixia Qu
Senior Research Fellow

Ruth Weston 
Senior Research Fellow

Jennifer Renda
Manager, Survey research

More information

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