Showing posts from May, 2014

Never underestimate the impact your words can have on a teen

A couple of weeks ago I had something wonderful happen to me in a school. I've been talking about the incident at my Parent Information Evenings over the last fortnight and I now feel ready to put 'pen to paper'. What it clearly shows to me is that we should never underestimate how much impact our words can have on a young person ... I had just finished my presentation to a group of Year 12s, the talk covering a range of issues including drink driving, 'Schoolies' and ecstasy. This was the final time I would speak to them, meeting them for the first time in Year 10 and then delivering a different session when they were in Year 11. This is my usual program of work in schools that I visit regularly and the talk had gone down extremely well - this was a great group of students. After answering a few individual questions from a number of them a young man walked up to me, hand outstretched. "Mr Dillon, can I shake your hand?" he said. "Of course,&quo

Is cannabis a 'gateway drug'? If my child starts smoking weed, will they go onto using 'harder drugs'?

Carol was a mother of three girls, the eldest of which, Kath, attended university. Kath had always tried to 'push boundaries'. Carol approached me to ask for my advice after she had recently found a bag of what she believed to be cannabis in her eldest daughter's drawer. She was terribly distressed. She had a range of concerns, including the effect this could possibly have on her two younger daughters and of course the illegality of the drug, but her greatest worry was about what was next ... " Where does she go from here?" Carol asked me. "If she's using this now, what will she be experimenting with in the future?" Over the years I have spoken to many parents who have found themselves in exactly the same situation as Carol. No matter how much you may prepare yourself for the day that you discover your child has used an illegal drug, it would appear that the impact is still devastating. So many thoughts are likely to go through a parent's hea

'Sleepovers': Are they as innocent as they sound?

Last week I met a mother who couldn't wait to tell me her story about a 'sleepover' she held for her 14 year old daughter. Actually, it wasn't really about the event itself, it's what happened before and after that blew her mind and had me gasping! Jane is the mother of three girls, the oldest of which has just turned 14. To celebrate her daughter's recent birthday she agreed to hold some sort of small gathering with a few of her friends being invited. After some discussion about what she wanted (and what Jane was willing to do!) it was decided that four friends would be invited for a 'sleepover' on a Saturday night. This would involve the invitees staying the night and Jane would provide food, some games and a video or the like through the night. The family had only just moved to a new city and new school and Jane did not really know any of her daughter's friends and saw the event as not only a good way to get to know them but also their parents.

Isn’t teen smoking, drinking and drug use just a rite of passage?

I've had a pretty phenomenal week! I have travelled across the country, given 21 talks across five schools and have met some of the most amazing young people. The last two days were particularly special. I was at two very well-known boys' schools in Brisbane and at the end of almost every session I delivered I was approached by students who wanted to thank me for the presentation but also to share that they had made the decision not to drink and that they had appreciated my message that there were a growing number of young people who had made a similar decision. Earlier in the week I also had a Year 12 young man who came up to me, shook my hand and said the following: "When you came and spoke to us in Year 10 and told us that you didn’t drink (and never really had through your life), it made me realize that that was an option. I had never thought it was before then. I’m now 18, three years on and I have made the choice not to drink. I just wanted to say thanks!"