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Showing posts from May, 2018

When should you start the conversation about alcohol with your child?

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In the last couple of weeks I've been asked a number of times when I believe is the best time to start the conversation about alcohol with your child. I'm often asked this question and I've written about this before but thought it may be a good idea to update a blog I wrote a couple of years ago that discussed this important issue …

A US report published in 2015 aimed at preventing binge drinking in young people recommended that parents should start talking to their children about alcohol at age 9. Co-author of the report, Dr Lorena Siqueira was reported as saying that the reason to start the conversation this early was that "kids are starting to develop impressions (about alcohol) as early as 9 years." She went on to say that for prevention to actually work, or at least have some effect, it's better for parents to influence ideas about alcohol early, rather than trying to change their impressions later, from positive to negative.

I've written many times…

Parenting a teenager:"It's all about sacrifice!"

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I'm constantly writing about the bizarre parenting, particularly around alcohol and partying, I see or hear about as I'm travelling across the country and I have been occasionally criticised for what some see as 'parent bashing'. I'm not a parent (as my wonderful sister-in-law has told me after hearing me present at an Information Evening a few years ago) and I absolutely get it, it's so easy for me to criticise what parents do or don't do in this area when I don't have to deal with the issue myself. That said, I always try to make it clear in anything I write (or say for that matter) that I believe parenting is the toughest job in the world - there is no 'rule book'.

Every family is different and within each family, every child is going to have their own personality and potentially their own issues. You'll be different each time as well. Raising a child, with all the fears and anxiety that comes with first-time parenthood (combined with a…

What questions do you need answered to make an 'informed decision' about whether your child should go to a party or gathering?

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I've discussed this issue so many times, stressing the importance of finding out as much as you can about an event your child gets invited to but I continue to meet parents who really struggle in this area. Some parents are convinced by their child that no-one else makes a phone call and that if they did they would 'shame them forever', while others blindly trust their teen and simply accept the information their children provide. Others come up with other excuses that I find particularly bizarre ... During the week I met a father who felt that doing too much checking about what was going to go down at a teen party was not only "insulting" to the host parents but was also "limiting the development of independence" of his 14-year-old daughter! I understand that getting information about a party or gathering is not easy and trying to obtain it certainly won't make you popular but it is important and if you get this process right nice and early, when …

Is it legal to throw drunk 15-year-olds out of a party you are hosting? Do you have a 'duty of care' - a legal responsibility to look after them?

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One of the questions I get asked the most by parents is around 'duty of care', usually in regard to holding a teenage party or gathering. The questions range from "Am I responsible if a teen gets drunk at a party at my home, even if I do my best to prevent alcohol from getting into the event?" through to "What if a drunk teen turns up at a party I am hosting and I refuse to let them in, am I responsible if something happens to them outside my home?". I have had so many of these type of queries over the years but have always found it extremely difficult to try to find concrete answers for those parents struggling to work out where they actually stand in this very grey area. Based on the information that is available, I have usually said that host parents do, at least to some degree, have a legal duty of care to make sure that everyone at the party is safe. But does the law actually say that?

If you do a quick search of the web, 'duty of care' is usu…