Author: Barry Gittins

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Parents, it's time to spike the spank

    • Barry Gittins
    • 18 June 2018
    4 Comments

    If you are inclined to discount expert opinion from medicos, lawyers and criminologists, you could consider the evidence of your own eyes. Observe the body language around you if a parent hits their kid in public. A hush descends and tension increases. Post-Royal Commission, violence against kids is more and more on the nose.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Clay feet

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 April 2018
    1 Comment

    Mohandas was a lawyer and a saviour, who took his beatin's and refused to eat; Mahatma won, the Union Jack was flaggin’, then one of his own dropped Gandhi at his feet. Jesus was a rabbi and a dreamer, who talked and stirred and gave up carpentry; Mary cried as spearpoint slid past femur, godson egressed into mystery.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Families dazed by the running of the bills

    • Barry Gittins
    • 09 April 2018
    3 Comments

    Parenting is expensive, financially and emotionally. I would be fibbing if I didn't acknowledge the love and pride we receive from laughing with our progeny. Seeing them grow. But I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge that being a mum or dad can be hazardous to your financial, social, sexual and physical health.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Wisdom from the realm of the office zombies

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 February 2018
    1 Comment

    The closest Confucius came to this romantic view of work was a line expressed from the view of the bosses, saying, 'When he chooses the labours which are proper, and makes them labour on them, who will repine?' The answer as to who will repine, rather obviously, is the labourers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Songs for children on the path to maturity

    • Barry Gittins
    • 04 December 2017
    1 Comment

    2017 has seen us stirring a large pot of sticky issues with our 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. Old-school parenting used to play nice, with no discussion of sexuality, religion or politics. While recognising the need to speak appropriately to the ages and maturity of our kids, I disagree with that convention.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    How to be civil in an uncivil world

    • Barry Gittins
    • 12 October 2017
    3 Comments

    In 2017, we have had one of the most uncivil years in memory, with assaults against politicians, institutions, entire demographics. What can we learn from antiquity? The obvious lesson from Rome's post-Caesarian civil wars is that internecine conflict is inevitably punctuated by further conflict and wrestling for power.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's a little lie between friends?

    • Barry Gittins
    • 10 August 2017
    6 Comments

    ‘Would I lie to you? Would I lie to you honey? Now would I say something that wasn't true?’ The Eurythmics’ hit from 1985 has been played repeatedly in my head of late as I negotiate life as a Dad.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Non-ants and animal whimdom

    • Barry Gittins
    • 23 July 2017
    2 Comments

    ants don’t sleep elephants weep presidents creep oolong teas steep and we observe. dictators serve goosekillers swerve ignorance hits curve art shows verve and we obsess. rabbits stress tortoises press paedophiles confess corporations bless and we object

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  • MEDIA

    Shielding kids from Grenfell Tower televised trauma

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 June 2017
    4 Comments

    An article focusing on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings reported that people 'exposed to more than six hours of daily media coverage of the tragedy were more likely to experience symptoms of acute stress than those directly affected by the event'. News junkies, or those who saw extended coverage, were found to be worse off than those who actually survived the bombings. This is sobering as we consider how we deal with our children's exposure to traumatic events playing out on TV news.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Don't turn away from dire child abuse stats

    • Barry Gittins
    • 24 May 2017
    7 Comments

    Australian kids are being bashed, raped, starved, scorned and otherwise treated with no dignity or kindness. The study states it is not simply a case of one-off abuse, noting that 'research has demonstrated that maltreatment sub-types seldom occur in isolation (e.g. sexual abuse is often accompanied by psychological maltreatment or physical abuse)'. That is difficult reading. It makes me sick to write it. But the paper should, in a just society, serve as a catalyst for a national conversation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to survive the crucible of school bullying

    • Barry Gittins
    • 23 February 2017
    7 Comments

    Squarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tips for surviving Christmas angst

    • Barry Gittins
    • 05 December 2016
    5 Comments

    Cricket games, feasts, the origami orgy of Christmas present wrappings rent asunder ... the underlying truth in all of this, for many of us, is deep emotional pain and loneliness that's gone unheard, unnoticed, all year. Family is both a lodestone and a millstone at Christmas. It's a truth magnified by aspirational love. As Pope John XXIII once said, cutting close to home, 'Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.' It's a big ask that carries a price.

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