News Release

Australian Federal MP Speaks at Church-Sponsored Family Relationships Conference

The Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, federal Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services, spoke at the 2011 Strengthening Family Relationships Conference, held at the Heidelberg Stake Centre on 14th May. Family Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organised the event as part of the Australian National Families Week.

Mr Andrews set the scene for the evening by highlighting statistics and trends showing how much needs to be done to strengthen family and community values. He spoke of the practical and proven advantages of strong marital commitment in the development of healthy individuals and communities. Excerpts from the Church's "The Family – A Proclamation to the World" were among the slides the federal MP presented to the 200 participants.

Peter Howell, psychologist and director of LDS Family Services in Melbourne, gave an overview of the role of acceptance in managing marital conflicts. He addressed overcoming negative self defeating behaviours and focusing on positive behaviours.

Rachelle Mortenson, a clinical social worker, explained some reasons for children's behavioural challenges and ways to manage them. She expanded on characteristics of positive parenting including teaching children resilience and how to cope with life challenges.

The audience participated in a 'Communicating with Love' workshop led by Vince Meixner, senior counselling specialist with LDS Family Services, whose handouts suggested ways to eliminate destructive communication and increase positive interactions.

Linda Williams, another employee of LDS Family Services, taught the use of logical and natural consequences to help children develop confidence and a healthy identity. She and Vince both pointed out Church-sponsored training that is available to help people effectively deal with the challenges facing families today.

Stake President, Robert Dudfield, hosted the evening and presented Kevin Andrews with the LDS Family Services Marriage and Parenting manuals and the book Standing for Something by President Gordon B Hinckley.

"We are indebted to Kevin Andrews," said President Dudfield, "for reinforcing the importance of families and family values. This event has provided us an opportunity to 'stand for something' that we consider most important. Let us now use this knowledge and share it with those we love."


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