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Education for Family Life in Australia

  • Bruce M. SmythEmail author
  • Cathryn Hunter
  • Michelle Macvean
  • Maggie Walter
  • Daryl J. Higgins
Chapter

Abstract

Family life education is neither a formal discipline nor a formally recognized vocation in Australia. Rather, it comprises a loose amalgam of programs, services, and policies—with little reliable evaluation data to guide its activities. Education for family life in Australia has a complex disjointed story, characterized by a marked decline in couple relationship education, on the one hand, and an expansion of parenting education on the other. Our central argument is that supporting and enriching couple relationships is critical to successful parenting. Yet Australian policy—possibly reflecting broader cultural and attitudinal barriers—appears to neglect this important nexus.

Keywords

Family life education Couple relation education Parenting programs Premarital education Family policy Policy evaluation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Australian Research Council (Future Fellowship FT110100757 to Smyth); Nicholas Biddle for the analysis of recent census data; Giverney Ainscough for valuable research assistance along the way; and Denise Lacey, Lawrie Moloney, Elizabeth van Acker, Joanne Commerford, the editors, Mihaela Robila and Alan Taylor, and an anonymous reviewer for comments on an early draft. Any shortcomings or errors, of course, are ours alone, as are the views expressed in this chapter. These views should not be attributed to any affiliated organizations.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce M. Smyth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cathryn Hunter
    • 2
  • Michelle Macvean
    • 3
  • Maggie Walter
    • 4
  • Daryl J. Higgins
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Social Research and MethodsAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Institute of Family StudiesMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Parenting Research Centre/Deakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Aboriginal Research and LeadershipUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  5. 5.Institute of Child Protection StudiesAustralian Catholic UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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