Showing posts from June, 2014

Plus-one parties: What's that all about?

I'd love to know who first came up with the 'plus one' party idea! I can pretty well guarantee that it wasn't a young person - it was much more likely to be some parent trying to be cool deciding to treat their teen's 16th birthday party like it was a wedding or a 21st! Without a doubt it is one of the most ridiculous and potentially dangerous new trends in teen parties and gatherings and the most amazing thing about it is, ask young people about the greatest risk associated with these events and they will almost unanimously state that it is 'plus ones'. Once again, I know I was a teen a very long time ago, but when I was young (don't you hate saying that, it so makes you sound like your parents?) the largest party I ever went to when I was at school would have had at the most about 20 people attend. Say that to a young person today and they look at you in total disbelief - how could that have ever be seen as a party? The more you talk to teens, you be

Grandparents: What role can they play in preventing alcohol and other drug use?

Increasingly I am seeing more grandparents attend my Parent Information Evenings. Some are now their grandchild's primary caregiver and are really struggling to deal with adolescent behaviour, coming to the talk looking for any tips that may assist them to navigate through this difficult time. Many others come with their sons and daughters who now are parents of teens themselves and are there simply to support their own child as well as to find out a little more about this complex issue. Last week I received the following email from one of those grandparents and I thought I would share it with you ... I am just writing to thank you for your presentation last night. I am a 70 year old grandmother of three teenagers and attended your session last night with their mother (my daughter). We both learnt so much. Sometimes I am just terrified about the behaviour of adolescents that I read about in the paper and see on the TV news, so it was refreshing to hear that so many of our young

Cannabis in schools: Why are things changing and what can we do about it?

I can count on one hand the number of schools I have visited recently that haven't been having issues with cannabis. These include students coming to school stoned, small groups of young people starting to demonstrate some clear issues with their cannabis use, particularly around mental health, and unfortunately, others bringing it to school and/or selling the drug to others.   Realistically many schools often don't have the resources to deal with cannabis-related issues. Counselling staff are already pushed to breaking point and few have a great deal of experience when it comes to drug-related issues, so when it comes to cannabis-related problems, many don't have the time or the experience to deal with them effectively. Add to that the illegality of the drug, it is not surprising that schools' first (and in some cases, only) response is to suspend or expel the student. Over the past three weeks I have received three emails from students, all of whom were caught wi

Pre- and post-formal events: What role, if any, should alcohol play?

You really have to ask yourself sometimes where this whole idea of pre- and post-formal events (often referred to as 'pres' and 'afters') came from. I know when I went to school (and yes, I know that was a long time ago!) these simply didn't exist. In fact, I've really only seen them really take off in a big way in the last ten years - that's not to say they weren't around before then, but really they weren't seen by young people (and some of their parents!) as an essential part of their high school experience until quite recently. They certainly have become the bane of many school principals' lives, with many trying to make it clear that they are not endorsed by the school, in fact, they strongly suggest that these events do not take place at all, if not for legal reasons (i.e., secondary supply of alcohol laws that exist in most jurisdictions), then for the very clear dangers that exist when you put a very excited group of young people together