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Parent Resources & Support

Alcohol & Other Drug Education

Well done for guiding your young person through their early years. After over a decade of parenting experience (or more!), you may now be facing the joys and challenges of the adolescent years.

Parents, grandparents and guardians can feel fearful or anxious about this time, particularly as their young person begins to socialise more independently with their friends. So here, we simply want to reassure you that this time is to be enjoyed and working together with other parents can make this a safe and enjoyable time for your young person.

A Suggested Approach

Before starting a conversation with your young person where you may ask them multiple questions, it may be worth asking yourself a few. This approach will help you prepare for the discussion around the subject.

Is what you believe about alcohol & other drugs true?

We’d encourage you to be informed with all the facts about what young people today are actually choosing to do when they celebrate. Before starting the conversation and basing the discussion purely on what you hear, find out what’s really going on with young people and this subject of alcohol & other drugs.

You could read some of the articles we publish on our Education blog or see the resources we provide to young people on our Young People Resources. This will allow you to encourage your young person with the great choices the majority of young people make and what the accurate harms and consequences are for those who choose to make poor choices.

For families with more than one parent/guardian, are you all on the same page?

Your young person needs to know that no matter what parent/guardian they’re speaking to, they’re going to get consistent messages and information. Alcohol or no alcohol at parties? What age do you consider it to be okay for them to begin drinking? It is important for the parents or guardians to have this discussion before the young person gets to this stage to ensure a clear and consistent message is shown.

When and where will you have this conversation?

Where did your parents have this conversation with you? Would you do the same? Your parents may have sat you down at the dinner table or simply avoided the conversation altogether. Each parent will have a different approach to discussing these topics depending on their young person’s age, and the environment their young person will best respond to. Environments that are often not as intimidating may be while watching TV, when there is a relevant topic or scenario or while driving in the car. We know that early conversations about alcohol and other drugs are important.

What questions will you ask?

Open questions are the key to ensuring your young person feels heard and distances any negative behaviours from them personally.

What part of going to a party do you most enjoy?
 How do you feel about alcohol at parties?
• How do you think you would get out of a situation you’re not comfortable with?

It is all well and good to ask open-ended questions, but if they don’t feel listened to it defeats the purpose of the conversation. Active listening (saying back to the person what you think you’ve heard) will confirm what they’re saying and show your young person you care about what they’re saying.

What are your clear rules and expectations that you want to communicate to your young person?

Give clear reasoning for why you are enforcing these rules. Peer pressure may arise that may make your young person feel like they have to break the rules. Discuss strategies to help them stick to their convictions.

Want to find out more? We provide parent seminars for schools and community groups, catered to suit the audience of parents. Go to our Empower Education page for more information.

Have you thought about how you’ll discuss schoolies yet?

To find out specific information for parents of a ‘schoolie’ (or multiple ‘schoolies’), please visit the Info for Parents page.

Supporting Parents

We publish regular, engaging articles on our website’s blog that parents can source freely. See below for some of the articles we recommend.

Recommended Articles from Our Education™ Blog

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019

Do you ever wonder what’s really going on in Australia when it comes to alcohol & other drugs? The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its newest report on Alcohol & Other Drug use across Australia for 2019, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS). In this survey, 22,274 Australians gave information on their drug use patterns, attitudes and behaviours. The AIHW has been reporting on Australia’s Alcohol & Other Drug use every 3 years since 1993. The information we have received is exciting as it shows that young people are continuing to make great choices in regards to alcohol and other drugs. [Read More]

Secondary Supply Laws for South Australia

For a few years, South Australia was the only state without secondary supply laws. Since 2015, all other states have had strict laws that impose hefty fines to those that don’t adhere secondary supply laws. As of 18th December, 2017, changes have been made to South Australia’s Liquor Licensing Act 1997. And one of the major changes involves secondary supply. So what exactly is secondary supply? And how do these changes affect both parents and young people in South Australia? [Read More]

Young People and Drugs: What’s REALLY Happening?

Last week saw the release of the national data for the Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and other Drug (ASSAD) survey for 2014. This survey produces the most extensive statistics about young people and drugs in Australia, and what decisions they are making. Approximately 25,000 students aged 12-17 years participate in the survey every 3 years. At Encounter Youth, many of the students that we talk to in our alcohol & other drug education program tell us they are choosing not to drink. As such, we were excited to investigate this data to see if it matched up with our experience. So what decisions are young people making and are more choosing not to drink or use other drugs? [Read More]

Effective School Drug Education: What Does It Look Like?

“You need more images of the negative consequences of alcohol/other drug use.” “Some more scary stories will really hit home the consequences of doing the wrong thing.” “Include more about the consequences if things go wrong.” This is a snapshot of suggestions that Encounter Youth sometimes gets, particularly from teachers after they see our alcohol & other drug education program for the first time. The lack of scary stories and shock tactics, and having a limited focus on the negative consequences, are the most common criticisms we receive about our program. As it turns out, we intentionally do not use shock tactics, scary stories or fear-based approaches for a very good reason. [Read More]

Parent Resources

Get in Touch Today

If you have any questions about our Empower Education program, we’d love to hear from you.