Showing posts from September, 2014

When parents aren't on the same page: 'Mixed messages'

As I've said many times before, being a parent is the most difficult job in the world and there is no rule book. For most mums and dads it is simply a matter of doing the best that they can with the resources they have at the time, a bit of 'trial and error' and hoping that at the very least, their kids come out at the end relatively unscarred. When I am asked what I believe are the most important elements of good parenting as far as alcohol and other drugs is concerned I would have to say the following: rules, consequences bound in unconditional love developing and keeping lines of communication open as effectively as possible no 'mixed messages' The 'no mixed messages' can often be the most difficult, particularly in regards to both parents being 'on the same page' as to what those messages are going to be. Even in families where parents have very similar values there can often be disagreement on issues such as teens and parties. For ex

E-cigarettes: What are they and should we be worried?

In the last few weeks I have been contacted by a number of schools asking for my advice on how to deal with students who have been caught with electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes as they are better known). I have to say that I really didn't know what to tell them. Although these devices have been around for a few years I really didn't think that they would make it into Australian schools to any great extent and as regular readers of my blog would know, I have been much more concerned about the growing interest in sheesha or hookah smoking. It appears that I was wrong, I am now asking schools that I visit whether they're seeing these devices and almost everyone of them has ... So what exactly are e-cigarettes and how are they different from traditional cigarettes? More importantly, what are the harms associated with these devices, particularly when it comes to young people? Put simply an e-cigarette is a nicotine delivery device that simulates tobacco smoking by pro

'Schoolies (or Leavers) Week': How should parents prepare?

It's that time again and with Year 12 exams only weeks away and the end of the year approaching, I'm starting to get asked more questions about Schoolies Week (or Leavers Week as it is known in WA). This week I'm off to Perth where I will be presenting at a forum being run by SDERA for parents on how to prepare for Leavers Week. They, like Queensland, are in a very different situation to other jurisdictions in that their Year 12s are a year younger than those in other states resulting in the majority of the young people travelling to celebrations being underage! When I visited a Queensland school earlier this year and asked how many of them would be 18, only one put their hand up, another 60 would be 17, but the remaining 25 were only 16 years old - a frighteningly young class of Year 12s - you can only imagine what their parents think about the whole experience! So what are my views on the whole phenomenon? Firstly, I need to say that I have attended Gold Coast Schoolies