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Showing posts from February, 2016

How worried should parents be about ecstasy and dance festivals?

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If you were one of the many parents that watched ABC TV's 4 Corners episode 'Dying To Dance' who have never had anything to do with the nightclub or dance festival scene I'm sure you were quite confronted by what you saw. Since it aired a couple of weeks ago I have received a number of emails and phone calls from parents so disturbed by the program that they made contact to try to establish if the program truly represented what was happening at dance festivals across the country. Most of them had sons or daughters that were regular festival-goers and many found it extremely hard to believe that they could be involved in the kind of activity that they saw on the program.

Let me start by saying that I thought the program offered a unique insight into a culture that is rarely examined in such detail. Gaining access to dance events is incredibly difficult for the media - no promoter wants a television crew wandering around their event, particularly if the producers are try…

What if your teen wants to take alcohol to a party or gathering?

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What do you say the first time your teen turns around and asks if they can take alcohol to a party they have been invited to? This is the situation a mother I met during the week had recently faced and she found herself really struggling with how to respond ...

Tina's son Adrian is 16 and has found it really difficult since he started at a new school two years ago to find a group of friends. Last week he was invited to his first teenage party and, although a bit worried about the whole 'party thing', she was also thrilled that this could be the beginning of him finally starting to 'fit in' ... Unfortunately straight after she said he could go, he threw her a curly one and asked if he could take alcohol. According to Adrian, everyone else was going to take a couple of drinks and he didn't want to be the only one who didn't. Tina certainly didn't feel comfortable giving her son alcohol to take to a party (and she made it clear to me, it was never going to …

5 messages about ecstasy that every parent should discuss with their teen

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During the week I met two mothers who had both recently discovered that their daughters had been taking ecstasy. Both were very worried and wanted advice on what to do now that they had this information. After finding out what their daughters were up to, both had confronted them with what they knew, aired their disappointment and concerns but were told in no uncertain terms that they had no intention of changing their behaviour and that they were worrying about nothing and that 'everyone does it'!

Both of these mums were pretty amazing. It seemed like they had been able to keep their cool when discussing the issue with their daughters, knowing only too well that if they had exploded and ranted and raved, they really did risk jeopardising the already tenuous relationship they had with their child. But you could really see how frightened they were and when one of them said to me - "I just don't want to wake up one weekend and find her face on the front page of the pap…

"Don't tell my Mum!": The importance of letting your teen know they can call you anytime, anywhere and no matter what you will still love them

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This week I was back on the road, travelling across the country speaking to young people. Once again I was blown away by how incredible our kids are and the way they respond to the messages I deliver. As many of you would know, I make it very clear to schools that I don't preach a 'don't do' message - I certainly hope that of those who do drink or use illicit drugs, many of them choose to make better choices as a result of listening to me - but essentially my aim is to try to get the students I speak to to understand the importance of looking after themselves and their friends should they find themselves in a dangerous situation.

Due to their brain development, during the teen years adolescents can find it very difficult to believe what happens to others could possibly happen to them. Many of them are certainly aware of the consequences of taking part in particular activities and most know that if their friend drinks to excess then bad things can happen, they just don&…