News

Keeping strong at the coal face

SOLID ROCK: Authors Alicia Ranford, Lainie Anderson and Angie Willcocks are helping families survive the mining boom and the perils of fly-in, fly-out lifestyle.
SOLID ROCK: Authors Alicia Ranford, Lainie Anderson and Angie Willcocks are helping families survive the mining boom and the perils of fly-in, fly-out lifestyle. Contributed

ONE of the things that people often fail to mention when it comes to the effect of the mining boom is the way it's reshaping the modern Australian family.

But in a world first, mining mum Alicia Ranford, psychologist Angie Willcocks and journalist Lainie Anderson have released a self-help book for mining families to navigate the pressures of a remote or fly-in, fly-out/drive-in, drive-out lifestyle.

Mining Families Rock, released on Tuesday, contains professional advice, practical strategies and simple tips for keeping relationships healthy and kids happy. The book also caters for Australians wanting to tap into the mining boom, with advice on where to start when you are tyring to find a mining job and what to expect of the lifestyle.

Ms Ranford said Mining Families Rock was compiled to help people through any challenges they face as a result of their work choices, and also to help people feel good about those choices. "The mining boom offers great opportunities for families, but after six moves in a decade and eight years of fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) I know it can also put intense pressure on couples trying to maintain a strong relationship and raise happy, healthy kids," she said.

"Great communication is the absolute key, and hopefully this book will start a lot of conversations on many personal levels."

Ms Willcocks hopes the book by the Adelaide authors will turn the focus on how to make couples more resistant under the pressure of a mining lifestyle.

"Working away from home is a fact of life for a growing number of Australian families and it can be a positive experience so long as couples are very clear about goals and potential problems up front," she said.

"They need to tackle any issues as a united team and regularly reassess how the family is coping."

The book is available from the Mining Family Matters website www.miningfm.com.au.

Tips from 'Mining Families Rock'

  • Coping in the early days of FIFO/DIDO: Some people need more contact, while others withdraw to deal with being away from their families. If your partner seems eager to get off the phone try not to take it personally.
  • Children will only worry and panic about dad being away for big occasions if the adults seem panicked or worried, try to use this time as an opportunity to teach resilience and problem-solving.
  • Beating the black day blues: Black days are a bit like Mondayitis, only on a bigger scale. For some miners, it's the final day of their time off. For others it's the actual day of travel back to the mine site. Next time you are having a black day, take the time to think about how you feel (sad, anxious or stressed) and how you are acting. Sometimes, even just noticing your black day thoughts can help.
  • For mums who work away, make sure guilt doesn't affect your parenting style. If you do feel guilty, offload to supportive friends or family rather than changing you interaction with your kids.
  • Don't alter your commitments (i.e. new house or bigger loan repayments) until you are sure that mining works for you. FIFO/DIDO families don't do too well when they feel stuck with the lifestyle.
  • Allow your children to talk about their feelings. Avoid saying things like "be brave" or don't be silly" because they might start hiding feelings from you thinking they are unacceptable to talk about.
  • Some FIFO/DIDO parents feel a little guilty or sorry for their kids, and so expect less of them which can be bad for their self esteem. Encouraging and even expecting your teenager to take part in family activities and help around the house is not only good for their confidence; it's great for setting up opportunities for communication.
  • If you have differing libidos, don't fall into the trap of thinking the 'problem' rests with the person who wants less or more sex. Setting the issue up as one person's problem just makes it harder to tackle and increases the tension, frustration, guilt and blame. Try approaching your differing sex drives as a team, working together to break your 'sex cycles'.
  • If you have a strong relationship based on mutual respect, interests and love for each other (and you can openly discuss any worries or issues as they arise) there is no reason the FIFO/DIDO lifestyle should negatively impact your marriage or partnership.
  • Mine camp etiquette: Get yourself clean and tidy before breakfast and dinner in the mess hall. No-one wants to sit beside someone with half the day's work still on their overalls.

Topics:  coal mining, families, mining boom


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Star and News buried in Coorabell time capsule

Copies of the Northern Star and Byron Shire News were buried in Coorabell Primary's time capsule.

Coorabell primary celebrates 125th anniversary

OPINION: The price of good financial advice

Three per cent a year, or 2.2% after the adviser's fee, makes quite a difference. Over 20 years it means you would have 55% more than you would have otherwise.

Christoph looks at the difference it makes to have an adviser

Court blows away ridge-top wedding venue plans

court generic

The approval for a wedding venue at Talofa has been overturned.

Latest deals and offers

Falls Festival tickets go on sale today

GENERAL sales start at 9am, and we have all the details you need to make sure you don't miss out.

Star and News buried in Coorabell time capsule

Copies of the Northern Star and Byron Shire News were buried in Coorabell Primary's time capsule.

Coorabell primary celebrates 125th anniversary

OPINION: The price of good financial advice

Three per cent a year, or 2.2% after the adviser's fee, makes quite a difference. Over 20 years it means you would have 55% more than you would have otherwise.

Christoph looks at the difference it makes to have an adviser

Court blows away ridge-top wedding venue plans

court generic

The approval for a wedding venue at Talofa has been overturned.

Same-sex marriage vote 'pointless' says researcher

“They need to give MPs a conscience vote and just get it done.''

North Coast brand takes out Australian Business of the Year

Spell and the Gypsy Collective is the creation of sisters Elizabeth Abegg and Isabella Pennefather.

Byron Bay bohemian fashion and lifestyle brand recognised

Priscilla is coming to Brunswick Heads

Northern Rivers gender illusionist Maude Boate (Michael Gates) promoting the upcoming screenings of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Brunswick Picture House.

Maude Boate will host two special screenings

Falls Festival tickets go on sale today

Cold War Kids wow audiences at Falls Festival in Byron Bay despite the soaring tempratures and humidity. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

We've got all the details you need to make sure you don't miss out

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m