Showing posts from February, 2015

What if a teen arrives drunk to a party you are hosting? What should you do and do you have a duty of care?

I have had this query for a couple of weeks now and have been trying desperately to find someone who can give me some quality advice - unfortunately I keep meeting brick walls! It doesn't matter who I talk to, I just can't seem to get a straight answer of how best to deal with an issue that Australian parents are facing every weekend. Recently I received the following email from a mother who had approached me the previous evening with her husband after one of my talks. At the time she told me about their experience with a teenage party and wanted my thoughts on the matter. I asked her to put it into an email so that I could follow it up (sorry about the length but it was difficult to edit) ... Late last year we decided to host a 'gathering' at our home for our son's 15th birthday. We had attended one of your presentations before and were well aware of how important it was to set clear rules and boundaries around alcohol if we wanted the night to go off without

Should I take my child to a drug treatment centre to show them the reality of drugs? Do shock tactics work?

Over the last couple of weeks I have received a couple of emails asking my opinion about the effectiveness of taking their child to a drug treatment centre in an effort to try to deter their child from possible drug use in the future (some of the parents who contacted me said that they had heard John Laws mention the idea in relation to 'ice' on his radio show recently which seems to have stirred the pot a little!). Here is one of those emails, slightly edited to ensure anonymity: Hi Paul, my name is Susan and I have 3 children aged 3, 13 and 14 and work in the health area. I am concerned about what I'm hearing in the media re: the ice epidemic. I was listening to the radio the other day and I heard a suggestion that I think would be good to help deter kids from taking drugs. I would like to know what your thoughts were on this. The announcer said to take your kids to a drug rehabilitation centre to see what goes on there. Could you give me some advice on this? The idea

What does 'supervising a teenage party' really mean?

Deciding whether or not to allow your teen to attend a teenage party is something that almost every parent will have to deal with at some time or another. I believe that you should never let your child go anywhere unless you have done your homework and found out as much as you can about where it is that they want to go. If it's a party or gathering, some of the most important questions you should be asking are around supervision. Apart from finding out about whether alcohol will be available or tolerated when you call the parents putting on the event, questions should include "Will you be there for the evening?" and "Will you be supervising?" You would think that when you asked these questions of other parents and got a "Yes" in response that your child would actually be supervised in some way - well, surprise, surprise - that's not always the case! I had a wonderful email from a mum this week who told me about her experience around supervision a

"Your talk made my parents paranoid ...": A different type of 'hate mail' from a young person

Receiving 'hate mail' from young people really devastates me - I don't cope well! It has only happened a couple of times over the last 20 years and usually has to do with the information I give to Year 12 students about 'Schoolies'. That seems to be a really touchy subject and no matter how much I tell them that the warnings I give them about what may happen when they get to wherever they are going won't happen to everyone - they are potential risks - I have received particularly nasty feedback from a small number of young people after the event (always young men!) to let me know that what I said did not happen and that everything I told them was wrong. They usually finish off by saying I am terrible at my job and they are going to tell their school never to use me again (I'm putting that as politely as I can - sometimes there's a lot of name calling and swearing involved!). There have also been one or two occasions where a student writes to me to tell

Vodka-infused tampons - just when you think you've been asked everything!

I've been doing this for a long time and one of the most challenging parts of what I do is answering young peoples' questions about 'all things alcohol and other drugs' ... I've been asked so many curly questions over the years, many by those who genuinely want an answer to something they are concerned about, through to those really out-there questions usually asked by someone trying to be as sensational as possible in an attempt to shock others in the room (including me!) and get a quick, cheap laugh! Of course, many of the really difficult and often personal questions are asked by individuals who approach me after my presentation and if these are challenging at least you don't have to consider the rest of the class when you try to deliver an appropriate answer, but it is those that are asked in front of the entire year group that can be the most difficult to deal with. I truly thought I had been asked almost everything and there was very little left that cou