Showing posts from November, 2018

Teenage parties - when things go wrong: An ER nurse's perspective

When a parent is asked by their teen if they can attend a friend's party on a Saturday night, most would assume that the details their child provides them about the event, (e.g., where it is being held, the names of the host parents and the time it starts and plans to finish) would be reasonably accurate. You have to trust your teen, particularly as they get older, even if they're likely to break that trust at some time or another - that's what adolescents do! But when it comes to parties and gatherings, it's always best to go to some other sources to establish exactly what's going on …  Any parent who makes the decision to hold a teenage party at their home (or anywhere else for that matter) is pretty 'gutsy'. It takes a great deal of thought and planning to organise such an event and it is important to acknowledge that we see hundreds held every weekend right across the country that have few, if any, problems. Increasingly, those parents who do ho

Teenage parties - when things go wrong: A paramedic's perspective

With the holidays not too far away and the summer season almost upon us there are will be more and more parties and gatherings your teen is going to want to attend. These are important events and if your teen wants, or more importantly, 'needs' to go to them, you should try to find a way. This is where many young people learn to socialize in a different way from when they are at school and they can play a vital role in establishing where they fit (i.e., their social standing) within their peer group. At the same time, it is also important to remember that if your child doesn't want to go to parties - that's absolutely ok too! Don't worry that they're going to become some kind of 'social outcast' because they're not into this sort of thing - they'll usually find their own way at their own pace. Now as I've said many times before, when I say 'try to find a way' to let them go to a party, I don't mean that you throw all your rules

"You mustn't tell anyone what I'm about to tell you - do you promise?": What can (and should) a parent do with information their teen divulges?

Last week I was approached by two parents who were faced with a similar dilemma - both of their children had told them something in confidence about one of their friends in relation to alcohol or other drug use. One of the parents had actually made the decision to come to my parent session because of the situation and was really struggling to work out what, if anything, she should do with what her son had told her. To protect the identities of all involved I have altered the names and some of the details of the stories but hopefully you'll get the general idea … Renee believes she has a good, strong relationship with her 14-year-old son, Angus. They talk a lot and she knows most of his friends, as well as many of their parents. Last weekend, he went to a small gathering and, as always, she picked him and a few other boys up. After she dropped off the last one she could see that Angus was not himself. When she asked him what was wrong, he hesitated for a while but finally divulg

Some practical (and safer) tips to support teen brain development and turn a time of "peril into promise"

I've often written about the fact that teens are 'missing a piece of their brain'. It's something that I joke about with young people when I speak to them and ask them if they've ever suddenly done something quite bizarre and out-of-character and then just seconds later think to themselves, why did I do that? Without fail, almost every person in the room smiles and nods, acknowledging that, yes, they can totally relate to that experience … Strictly speaking, of course, teens are not actually 'missing' a piece of their brain, it's just that there are some important areas have not yet fully developed. Development in the brain occurs in a back to front pattern, with the prefrontal cortex being the last area to fully develop, for females around the age of 21-22 years and for males much later (around 25-26 years at least, but recent evidence suggests that some development may continue until possibly even 35!). This prefrontal area is the part of the brain