Showing posts from May, 2015

The importance of simply taking the time to answer a teen's question and the lasting impact it can have

I've been working with young people for over 30 years now and as I always say, it is my passion. I truly love what I do! I often get asked what I think is the most important thing people can do to keep our kids as safe as possible, regardless of whether you're their parent, their teacher or another significant adult in their life ... It's a tough question but when it comes to parenting I have been quoting Laurence Steinberg in my Parent Information Evenings this year when he says: "The single most important thing parents can do to raise healthy, happy and successful kids is to practice authoritative parenting" Put really simply, that means establish rules and consequences, stick to them and wrap them all up in a great big parcel of love! Evidence shows that authoritative parenting not only delays, but can in fact prevent, early drinking and illicit drug use. I believe that it is also vital that parents keep talking to their teens and try to maintain an open a

Incredible Aussie teens and our influence on them: Don't ever underestimate it!

This morning I posted a link to an article published this week that busted the myths around "a generation out of control" and a "binge drinking epidemic" apparently running rampant amongst our young people. It highlighted that we are currently seeing Australian teen drinking at the lowest recorded rates since we began collecting data in this area in the early 80s. This appears to be a global trend and the authors went on to give some possible reasons for the shift including the impact of social media and the internet (possibly reducing the importance of drinking in socialising) and an increasing focus on healthy living. I also believe that it could also have to do with parents being better informed about the risks around teen drinking and growing numbers who are trying to do as good a job as they can as far as parenting goes in this area (even there are those who continue to baffle me with their moronic behaviour!) ... These figures don't surprise me. Everyda

Australians and illicit drugs: 'Struggle Street' to celebrity drug use

Image interviewed me last week for a story on celebrity drug use - 'Secret drug habits of the stars: Insiders reveal what celebs get up to when you're not watching' - I'd hate to think how many people read the piece and just lapped it up! Stories about 'famous people' using illicit drugs, getting caught, entering rehab, or them writing a 'tell-all' book about the fact that they used illicit drugs, got caught and then entered rehab are always incredibly popular ... It's certainly not a bad article and does offer an insight into celebrity drug culture, which in reality reflects how many Australian adults use illicit drugs (i.e., they use to socialize, usually on special occasions and there is no other crime associated with their use). This story comes at the same time as the final episode of SBS's 'Struggle Street' was aired. This controversial documentary, following the poor and disenfranchised residents of Sydney's Mt Druitt, 

"I'm drinking too much too fast when I go to parties. What can I do to slow down?"

I don't talk about standard drinks when I speak to students - as much as I think it's important for people to be aware of the concept, realistically they're not particularly useful to young people. If you ask most adults who use standard drinks in their day-to-day life, they're usually used in relation to driving and staying under the legal limit (secondary school students can't have any alcohol in their system at all when they drive so talking to them about them as far as driving is concerned makes little or no sense). I could be wrong but I don't think I've ever met anyone who uses them in terms of maintaining a healthy life! They certainly provide important information for drinkers (and alcohol companies love the concept because it looks like they're doing something in terms of responsible drinking) but in reality we have absolutely no evidence (as far as I'm aware) that they encourage teens to drink more responsibly. In fact, I believe that they

Why I chose not to give the media a comment on 'the PM skolling a beer' story

I've been working with the Australian media for almost 25 years now and to be quite honest, nothing really surprises me anymore! As much as I think the general public has a much greater understanding of how the media works today than in the past, we still have a long way to go before we can say that Mr and Mrs Joe Average are always able to critically evaluate a media story and not just jump in feet first and accept all of it as gospel! A couple of weeks ago I posted the following message on my Facebook page: "Just been asked by a 'journalist' what my thoughts are on the PM "pulling a Bob Hawke" - i.e., skolling a beer in 6 seconds and did I "think it sent a bad message to our young people"? I couldn't care less what Tony Abbott does when it comes to having a drink - I'm just sick and tired of media outlets asking me if I'm 'outraged' when someone does something like this! Am I impressed that someone can down a glass of beer