March 26, 2021

Hundreds of parents took up the opportunity to hear from experts in the field on how to support our boys to grow into kind and compassionate young men.

Hosted by former ABC journalist Miriam Borthwick, the guest speakers included parenting expert Maggie Dent, Paediatric Professor Desiree Silva and AFL leader Matthew Pavlich, alongside Headmaster, Dean Dell’Oro.

The panelists discussed current trends and topics in the context of male development and societal expectations. Maggie and Dr Silva spoke about how brain “pruning” in the adolescent years results in boys often becoming forgetful and less articulate for a time, and how we need to be more understanding of this phase.

They also discussed topics of wide concern and interest, including the risks that social media and pornography pose to adolescent development, expectations and wellbeing. Maggie’s advice was to not provide children with a mobile phone until they are mature enough to deal with the risks, and for parents to model the behaviour they want to see. She also reminded the audience of the face-to-face relationships that are so important to child development. At the same time, they discussed the ongoing risks of underage drinking and drug use, and parents’ responsibility to always be present at parties to ensure the safety of all underage visitors.

‘Pav’ spoke of his own experiences as a young leader and how he realised early on that he had a choice as to which path he would follow to become the man he wanted to become. He also discussed how he encouraged other young players coming through the ranks of the AFL. Unlike other leaders who expect their charges to build their trust, Pav said he always gave his team members his absolute trust right from the get-go, which helped develop personal responsibility and loyalty.

Mr Dell’Oro spoke about how Hale School supports boys to develop ‘soft skills’ through a wide variety of co-curricular activities and opportunities to build connections with girls from other schools, especially St Mary’s.

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