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Showing posts from March, 2015

How do you begin the conversation around alcohol and other drugs?

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I'm pretty sure that every parent realizes that they're going to have to have a conversation around alcohol and other drugs with their child at some point. The 'where do I come from?' or 'how are babies made?' talks must be confronting for some but at least they're more likely to be based on simply telling some facts around what happens 'when two people love each other ...' or the like! As much as the sex talk involves discussing your values on the issue, the one around alcohol and other drugs, particularly regarding the rules and boundaries you are going to set, is going to be different for every family and sometimes your child is not going to like what you say ...  

This week I was asked by a lovely mum, obviously struggling with this issue, how best to begin the conversation with her 13 year-old son. She had heard me say during my presentation that I believe that parents should start setting rules around parties and alcohol by no later than Year …

Giving a UDL can to a 15 year-old during the week to make sure they can 'handle it' at a party on the weekend ...

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Nobody can tell a parent of an adolescent what to do with their child. Every mum and every dad is going to have to make their own decisions about how to raise their teen. Parenting is the world's most difficult job (and I'm told by so many, also the most rewarding!) and it certainly doesn't come with a rule book. That said, when I'm asked about my views on best-practice parenting around alcohol, I always say that the most important thing parents should do is follow their heart (sounds corny I know, but are you basing your decision on your own values and not simply doing what your best friend or sister-in-law is doing?) and, at the same time, look at what the most up-to-date evidence says is most appropriate and will assist in ensuring your child is happy and healthy. Each and every family is going to come up with different rules and boundaries in this area, but as long as you can be sure that you are able to live with the consequences of whatever you decide, then that…

When should parents start making rules around alcohol and parties?

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One of the more positive things I'm seeing at my Parent Information Evenings this year is how many parents of much younger children are now attending. Traditionally schools have pitched my talks to the parents of the students I speak to (i.e., Years 10, 11 and 12), but realistically by that time, bad habits have already been established and, as a result, it is going to be extremely difficult for changes to be made in the key areas of parental monitoring and parenting style. Of course, for those in the audience who have been doing the 'hard yards', being told by their teen that they're 'the worst parent in the world' and simply want someone to say that they're doing the right thing, a talk like mine is just what they're after! But when it comes to actually making a difference it is the parents of Years 7, 8 and 9 that I believe are the ones who should be there (and if I get primary school parents, well hallelujah!) ...

One of my key messages to parents …

Is midnight really an appropriate curfew for a 15 year-old?

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Last year while presenting at a girl's school in Melbourne I thought it could be interesting to find out what kind of curfew they had on the weekends. The Year 10s were a particularly interesting group, obviously very much into parties with the social life of many of them appearing to be centred around a vodka bottle. A core group of girls were particularly worrying - as I have described them before, the 'evil princess' group - they seemed to rule the roost and obviously controlled what was regarded as 'in' or 'out'! To avoid embarrassing the girls, instead of asking for a show of hands, I gave them a piece of paper and got them to write down what their curfew was on weekends ... the responses were staggering!

Around one third of them indicated that their curfew was 2am! 2am - that's right 2 o'clock in the morning! Well over half of them reported that they were allowed out until midnight, while a very small number of them said 10pm or earlier. One o…