Showing posts from April, 2018

'Sleepovers': Are they always as 'innocent' as they sound?

Just over four years ago I was contacted by a mother who couldn't wait to tell me her story about a 'sleepover' she had recently held for her daughter's 14th birthday. I wrote an article about her experience and shared it. Last week she contacted me again, this time to tell me about her now 18-year-old daughter and what went down at the event celebrating that birthday… We're in the process of putting together a piece about that but after reading what I wrote when I first heard from her, I thought it may be a good idea to update it and share it again … Jane is the mother of three girls, the eldest of which just turned 14. To celebrate her daughter's recent birthday, she agreed to hold a small gathering with a few of her friends being invited. After some discussion about what she wanted (and what Jane was willing to do!)  four friends were invited for a 'sleepover' on a Saturday night. The girls would stay the night and Jane would provide food, some ga

What do teens really think about parents and their parenting? What advice would they give them about appropriate rules and boundaries?

Every parent is going to 'parent' their child in a different way and, if there's one certainty in this area, it is most probably that if you try and parent all your children in the same way it's most probably not going to work particularly well. Parenting theories come and go and what was promoted heavily as the 'way to go' a decade ago may not be regarded in the same way today ... But what do teens think about their parents' parenting practices? When a young person approaches me and discusses the issues they may be having with their Mum or Dad around alcohol and parties, usually complaining about the rules and boundaries that are being imposed, I always ask them why they think their parents are doing what they're doing ... The answer is nearly always the same - "They're trying to ruin my life!" Now, as I always say in response, I'm sure that is not true, but at that point in their life that is exactly how they are feeling. A whole

'Vaping': What is it and is it 'safer' than smoking for our teens?

Recently I have received a number of messages from parents wanting to know more about 'vaping'. Each of them had recently found a device in their child's room and had little, or no idea, what it actually was, how it was used and whether it was harmful or not. Here is an edited version of one of the requests for information: "Last weekend I found a strange-looking device in our son's room. When I asked him what it was he said it was a 'vape'. It looked like a long cigarette and when we asked him why he had it he told us that it was a 'bit of fun' and he and his mates occasionally used it when they got together. He insisted he only used it to do tricks and that these vapes were harmless. We confiscated it anyway and told him we wouldn't allow it in the house. Since then we found out that one of his friends is smoking cigarettes. Our son played it down and said his mate is actually using the device to try to give up smoking. Just last night I f

If you give your teen two drinks to take to a party, is that all they're likely to drink? A group of 16-year-olds tell it from their perspective ...

Last week I got into a fairly heated discussion with some Year 11 students at a school I was visiting about a blog entry I had written about parents providing alcohol to teens to take to a party. Apparently when one of them had asked their parents to give them a couple of bottles to take to a friend's gathering (as they had a number of times before), they were told they were not going to be given any alcohol. They were then shown what I had written and told something along the lines of "Paul Dillon said ..." Now, as I've said many times before, I don't believe anyone can tell a parent what to do with their child in this area - you've got to make the decision for yourself. But when you've made that decision, whatever it is, own it! Firstly, to change your rules (i.e., provide alcohol for parties and then stop doing so for no real reason - this young man had not done anything wrong) is unfair and will undoubtedly lead to conflict. But most importantly, fro