Showing posts from September, 2018

'Talk to your child at night, late at night': A valuable strategy to help parents 'keep connected' to their teen

Go to any parenting session and no matter who is presenting or whatever angle they're coming from, they will undoubtedly stress the importance of 'keeping connected' to your child, particularly during the adolescent years. Now as I'm sure many of you with teens of your own are saying, that is so much easier said than done! Trying to maintain a positive relationship with a 14 or 15-year-old can be extraordinarily difficult but is vital if you're going to survive the years ahead. During this time, your child is going through a whole pile of changes (physical, psychological and emotional) and trying to find their place in the world. They are desperate to establish their own identity and, in doing so, often pull away from their parents and, as a result, their peers become increasingly more important in their lives. It's a tough time for all involved! As one Mum wrote to me a couple of years ago: "Every conversation I have with my 15-year-old at the moment e

What if a teenage party was run like a school excursion? What would be expected of the school and teachers?

I've written many times about the 'hoops' that schools have to go through to take students on an excursion and how parents would not expect anything less, particularly when it comes to their child's well-being. I raised this issue at a recent Parent Information Evening and was using it to emphasise the importance of parents 'doing their homework' before allowing their teen to attend a party on a Saturday night. It doesn't matter where a teacher is planning on taking a group of young people, whether it is a comparatively 'safe' place like a museum or a zoo, or a potentially more risky environment such as an outdoor education camp trekking through bushland for a number of days, they have to follow a protocol. I was talking to a couple of parents recently about this and they were quite surprised to hear about the lengths teachers have to go to in order to take a group of students off school grounds. That left me thinking, what would a school have to d

"I've just found out that my daughter's been taking ecstasy. What should I do?" One mother's call for help ...

One of the greatest fears for most parents is finding out that their child has taken an illegal drug. There are a range of reasons for this, many of them completely valid and understandable, but to respond to this situation without carefully thinking through what you should say and do can be a big mistake. A response emanating from fear or anger can have devastating and long-term implications. I recently received an email from a mother (we'll call her Maria) who was facing this issue and she wanted my advice on how she should deal with the situation. Here is an edited version of the message: "My daughter is 16 and my husband and I have never really had any problems with her. Her older brother was a bit of a handful, particularly around parties and alcohol, but up until a week ago we thought things were going to be relatively smooth sailing with Alyssa. We knew she had been to a couple of dance festivals but whenever we raised the issue of drugs (and we had done so a numb

The 'highs' and 'lows' of making a call to parents hosting a party: Three parents' experiences (one wonderful, two not-so-good!)

Last week's blog entry looked at questions parents need answered to assist them in making a decision about whether their child should attend a sleepover, party or gathering or not. In most cases, to get those answers you need to access a number of sources, including calling the host parents. It's never going to be easy to make that call and I can guarantee your child (no matter what their age) is going to want you to do it. They'll moan and groan and say you will 'shame them forever', but as one Mum wrote on my Facebook page in response to the piece ... "If we all do the call it stops being embarrassing! They may try to whinge that we're the only parents who are uncool enough to call but it's great to be able to reply that Jon's, Matt's Lucy's, Mary's, Laura's and Dave's parents called too." That's so true! If more parents made the call and it just became part of what was done every weekend, it would make it easi

Four questions you need answered to make a decision about whether your teen attends a party or not and ... where should you get that info from?

I've spoken and written about this many times before but over the last couple of weeks I have met a number of parents who have had some horror experiences with their teen and a party and when you look closely at what happened, it all went wrong because they simply didn't find out enough about the event before they let their child attend … Do just a little 'digging' before you say 'yes' to your teen and you can save yourself a great deal of heartache later. I know this isn't easy and that your child won't want you to ask questions and collect the relevant information but if you want to ensure your child's safety on a Saturday night, you really don't have any other choice! Mandy's 14-year-old daughter Elise desperately wanted to go to a friend's 15th birthday party. Mandy trusted her daughter when she told her that it was only a small gathering and that she would also be staying the night at the house with a couple of other girls once t