Showing posts from July, 2019

Parents, teens and trust: Can you trust a teen? Most probably not. Do you have to trust a teen? Absolutely!

Since presenting testimony at the Coronial Inquest into Music Festival Deaths I have been asked to do many media interviews, most of which I have knocked back. As I have got older I have become increasingly frustrated with the whole 'media process' of taking a 30-minute interview and editing it down to a couple of quick grabs that rarely capture the subtlety of the message you are trying to relay. That said, I wanted to highlight my concern that we are seeing growing numbers of younger Australians experimenting with ecstasy/MDMA and that many of them now regard it as a 'harmless' drug and, for the most part, hopefully that's what was covered. Deborah Cornwall, a journalist I have worked with for many years, has written a comprehensive piece for today's Weekend Australian outlining details around three of the six deaths being investigated. It's a 'must-read' for any parent who has a child that attends festivals (or nightclubs and other nightlife e

5 things parents should discuss with their teen before they leave home for a sleepover, party or gathering

If you allow your teen to attend a sleepover, party or gathering on a Saturday night, you've made a pretty big decision. They're going to be going to someone else's home (often someone you don't know particularly well) and they are going to socialise with other teenagers. Regardless of whether alcohol (or other drugs) are going to be involved - things can go wrong. Once you've told your teen they can go to wherever it is that they are going, your work doesn't stop there! I've written about the importance of making decisions about how they get to the event and how they get home (as I've said many times, I believe this is the one non-negotiable in this area - you decide what happens here - not your child!), as well as talking about your expectations around behaviour, but it is also vital that, regardless of their age, your child should never leave home without a number of simple things being discussed. These are all around safety and planning and altho

Music festivals, drug use and safety: Do we really have a so-called "soft approach" in this area?

During the week I was asked to give evidence at the NSW Coronial Inquest into Music Festival Deaths. Many of the parents of the young people that died over the summer months were present in the courtroom and I was fortunate enough to get to meet a couple of them. I can't even begin to imagine what they have been through and are continuing to deal with while listening to the testimony provided around the circumstances of their children's deaths. It truly must be heartbreaking ... Some of what I said was reported in the media and it was interesting to see what different outlets highlighted. When everything you say is published in bite-sized pieces or 'grabs', there is a risk that the message is misinterpreted. Over the past few days some commentators have used extracts of my testimony and resulting media interviews to support their view that pill testing shouldn't be introduced and that the only way forward is to simply push the 'Just Say No' approach even