Showing posts from March, 2018

Why do parents lie to other parents? How can you keep your teen safe when those you trust to look after them don't always tell the truth?

You would expect that when you contact a parent hosting a party and ask specific questions about what will and won't be happening at that event that you would get an honest answer. As I am often told, this just simply isn't always the case! I've talked about this issue a number of times before but since the beginning of the year I have heard from a number of Mums and Dads who allowed their teen to go to a party based on information they received from the host parents, only to find out later that what they had been told was completely untrue. Now, it is important to acknowledge that as far as alcohol is concerned, if young people want to get it into a party they are usually going to find a way, no matter what parents try to do. So if you have been told that the hosts are going to not allow alcohol at an event and then find out that one or more of the invitees has got drunk, it's important to remember that parents can only do their best ... That said, if you have been t

What about France? Don't European parents provide alcohol to teens? They don't have problems with underage drinking ... or do they?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a UNSW study that found no evidence to support that parental supply of alcohol to children will 'teach them to drink responsibly' or be protective in any way. Instead, it found that this was actually "associated with subsequent binge drinking, alcohol-related harm(s) and symptoms of alcohol use disorder". Not surprisingly, some parents had huge issues with this and I received a number of emails and messages from Mums and Dads who refused to accept the findings. Now, as I wrote at the time, what you do with your child is your business and if you believe that it is appropriate to give your child a glass of wine with a meal then go ahead ... all I am trying to do is make it clear that if you are doing that because you believe there is evidence to say that this practice is likely to make your son or daughter a more responsible drinker in the future, there isn't! A number of people who wrote to me raised the issue of France in thei

Why are we seeing so many cannabis-related school suspensions and expulsions? Use isn't increasing but attitudes are changing and teens are doing 'stupid things'. What can parents do?

Over the past 12 months I have been contacted by an extraordinary number of schools struggling to deal with cannabis. Regardless of the system - Independent, Catholic or state - it would appear that a growing number of young people are making the foolish decision to take the drug to school. Once they have brought it onto the grounds, they are either choosing to smoke it, usually with a group of friends of their own age, or are selling it, either to others in their year group or younger students. Now many people may be thinking that this is nothing new - if there was an illicit drug that was likely to be used by secondary school students, it would be cannabis. I can certainly remember cannabis being sold or supplied to others when I was at high school and I was a teen in the mid-70s - to be honest some people went to school to buy drugs at that time! But times have certainly changed and if you speak to school principals across the country, they will tell you that having to deal with

How do you best handle the 'alcohol issue' at an 18th birthday when there will be many underage young people present?

The 18th birthday is now a far more important event than it once was. For many of us it was the 21st birthday that was the major celebration and our entry into true adulthood but that has now changed, with many teens in their last year of school insisting they need a 'party to end all parties' to mark this major milestone. It certainly makes sense in many ways - they are now officially 'adults', they can vote, drink alcohol legally and no longer be regarded as 'underage' ... Unfortunately, any parent who decides to agree to an 18th birthday has to navigate through the 'alcohol issue' and try to work out how best to deal with a group of young people, some of whom are now legally able to drink alcohol (including their son or daughter) and other underage partygoers who are not ... When I'm asked by parents for advice in this area, I have to be honest and tell them that if they can possibly get out of holding such an event, that's most probably

Why would teens use some of these more 'unusual' substances? How are they accessing them and why would they decide to use them at school?

A couple of weeks ago, many Australian readers of this blog would have seen reports of an 'overdose' incident at a Gold Coast school. Now I need to make it clear that I do not have any connection with that school and I have not been privy to what actually occurred on that day - I only have media reports to rely on, which as we all know are not always entirely accurate. Regardless, it would appear that we can be quite certain of some basic facts, i.e., a group of Year 10 boys took a substance (with Queensland Police confirming that it was Phenibut later in the week) to school and then made a decision to use it while on school grounds. They then had an adverse reaction to the drug with seven of them being taken to hospital, four reportedly in a critical condition. All of the boys have now recovered and according to media reports, have been expelled from the school. Without a doubt this would have to be one of the most bizarre stories regarding school-based young people that I