Showing posts from July, 2018

Alcohol and young women: "But I just want my daughter to be popular"

I've written about this topic a number of times before (in fact, I've even highlighted the same story I'm about to tell) but over the past couple of weeks I've visited a number of schools where I've encountered some particularly powerful (and not particularly pleasant) groups of young women in a year level and I thought it may be a good idea to raise the issue again … A number of years ago I had just finished my Parent Information Evening at an elite girls' school and was speaking to a few parents afterwards. Time was getting on and the teacher who was looking after me for the night was shepherding those remaining parents out of the hall and when nothing else worked, she turned the lights out ... As I was following them out of the room this teary-eyed mother approached me from the corner of the room where she had been waiting until everyone else had left and said, "You're going to think I'm the worst mum in the world …" Now parents have sta

Risky parties and gatherings: What can a parent say to keep their teen as protected as possible?

Earlier this year I was contacted by a parent who was concerned about an event that his son was going to attend. As with many of the emails I receive about concern regarding events, this one had to do with a post-formal party. As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows, these are events I feel very strongly about and, as I always say, so often the parents who put them on are often completely unaware of the potential risks and the almost impossible position they put other parents into when they make the rules they do. The parent's email read as follows: "After listening to you speak my wife and I are now struggling with how to deal with our 17 year-old son attending a post-formal party he has been invited to ... We have great problems with the party and its rules around alcohol consumption (the parents hosting have specified those wanting to drink may bring no more than 4 drinks with a note from their parent!). Our son is a non-drinker but of course wants to attend. 18

Raising the drinking age to 21: Is it likely to ever happen?

While I was overseas on business last week an Australian study was published that apparently received a great deal of media attention. Researchers from UNSW followed young people from 13 to 30 and found that "early patterns of drinking are not limited to adolescence but rather persist into adulthood and are associated with a range of alcohol-related problems." This study provides one more important piece of the puzzle when it comes to helping parents make decisions around their child and alcohol. We've long known the dangers associated with 'binge drinking' (drinking to get drunk) and parents are now far more aware of the importance of delaying their child's first drink of alcohol for as long as possible (i.e., delay, delay, delay), but this research has found that how often a teen drinks is also a predictor of possible future problems. No longer can a parent say "Well, he only has a couple of beers when he goes to a party on a Saturday night. He nev