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Did you know that the majority of 14 to 15-year-olds in Australia now report that they don’t feel close to their parents[1]? It’s become clear that just because we live and communicate with a person every day does not necessarily mean we have a meaningful connection with them.

This is why The Reach Foundation recently piloted a program called Turning Tides, which aims to bring teenagers and their parents or guardians closer together.


With a focus on fostering connection, respect and understanding between the two generations, the program involved two workshops over a weekend in May 2019 at The Reach Foundation’s ‘Dream Factory’ in Collingwood.

Designed for 12 pairs of teenagers together with their parents/guardians, the workshops were facilitated by a team of three Reach Crew members, backed by two well-being professionals who supported the group through the emotional ups and downs of the program.

Themes included the respecting of boundaries, showing one’s ‘true self’ and communicating honestly.

The format of each workshop gradually progressed from fun, collaborative activities to more intensive ones designed to unpack the issues that might remain unsaid or misunderstood between each pair.

By shedding light on whatever issues were holding each relationship back, the workshops allowed them to be acknowledged, unpacked and overcome.

At the completion of each workshop, all participants completed an evaluation survey and were then followed up two weeks later to see how they were integrating their learnings into everyday life.


  • All teenage participants reported improvements in their closeness to, communication with and understanding of their parent or guardian.
  • More than 90% of parents and guardians reported improvements in their closeness to, communication with and understanding of their child.
  • All participants reported that they understood themselves better and were more confident in speaking openly and honestly.
  • 93% of all participants felt they now had the skills to better connect with their loved one.

View the full results at


In the words of The Reach Foundation’s CEO, Sasha Lawrence, “In a time where inter-generational conflict and misunderstanding is pervasive, Turning Tides is an opportunity to create true connection and understanding.”

With the demonstrated positive impact on participants, Turning Tides are now inviting funding to expand their program and help more young people and their parents/guardians to heal and reconnect their relationships.

For further information, visit or contact your Relationship Manager.

[1] ‘Growing up in Australia’ report, Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018.