Practical Parenting expert: Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is one of Australia's highest profile psychologists, author of 11 books, broadcaster and a specialist in parenting, children and adolescents, and the use of technology for mental health.
By Practical Parenting Team
July 11 2018
You might recognise Dr Michael Carr-Gregg as ‘Girlfriend magazine’s’ resident teen expert – the go-to expert on everything from cyber-bullying and self-esteem to managing Year 12 stress. And you’d be right!
As an adolescent psychologist, the resident parenting expert on Channel 7's Sunrise and a regular on Ch 9’s Morning Extra Show, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg one of Australia's leading authorities on teenage behaviour. He has written several bestselling books on parenting, including Surviving Adolescents, The Princess Bitchface Syndrome 2.0, Beyond Cyberbullying and When to Really Worry.
In 1985 he founded CanTeen, the acclaimed cancer patients' support group for teenagers in New Zealand and Australia. He is an ambassador for a variety of organisations including Smiling Mind, Make a Wish, Big Brother Big Sister and has been the 'Agony Uncle' for Girlfriend magazine for over 14 years. He has won many awards for his work.
Q. You are so passionate about being a voice for teenagers and helping parents navigate the ‘choppy’ adolescent years. What drew you to this area?
A. A fairly traumatic adolescence where I was diagnosed with cancer.
Q. What do you love most about what you do?
A. Working with young people and their parents, writing books and educating the general public, and advocating for them through the media to politicians and policy makers.
Q. What do you want parents to know about today’s youth?
A. The mental health of young people is at an all-time low and rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm are rising. There are more risk factors than protective factors for young people growing up and I hope to arm parents with the practical skills, knowledge and strategies to help them raise happy and resilient young people.
Q. What ‘parenting style’ would you like to see more of?
A. I am a great believer in authoritative parenting where we make reasonable demands and have high levels of responsiveness. These parents have high expectations for their children, and give them the resources and support they need to succeed. They listen to their kids and provide love, warmth and discipline in addition to limits and boundaries over things that matter. As a result the kids end up strong self-regulation skills, self-confidence, and happier attitudes.
Q. What adolescent subjects are you most passionate about?
A. So many. Cyber safety, building resilience, substance misuse, depression, anxiety and eating disorders, parent adolescent communication, loss and grief, the upside of technology in Apps, websites, biometric devices and the building blocks of wellbeing exercise, diet, meditation and sleep, and surviving year 12.
Q. Off duty: what does your life look like?
A. I ride bikes, run, cook and follow Hawthorn in the AFL and South Sydney in the NRL!
Q. What are you like as a dad?
A. I love my children, but I didn’t let them get away with murder. I strongly disapproved of disrespect and bad choices through the power of words, not physical violence. I did not reward my children for actions that were expected of them.
Q. What has been your hardest parenting moment?
A. Dealing with the death of my daughter, Sarah - 18 hours after she was born.
Q. What are you most proud of accomplishing in your field?
A. I founded and named CanTeen, ran the Coalition Against Tobacco Advertising in NZ, established the first Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Welfare in Australia at Melbourne University.