It’s natural to worry about keeping your child safe as they encounter alcohol and other drugs in their social scene. It might not always feel like it, but research shows that you do have a big impact on the attitudes and actions of your child. The following tips offer some suggestions on how you can use that influence to guide them during what can be a tricky time.
Saying yes or no to a party
Talk to the party host
To help decide if you’ll let your child go, you can contact the host parent to get an idea of what kind of party it’ll be. Try asking:
- How old are the other children that are going
- Will a parent be supervising
- Are food and activities being provided
- Will the host allow and/or serve alcohol
- When will the party end
Even if your child really wants to go, if you’re uncomfortable with the party arrangements it’s a valid choice to say no. We understand it’s not easy, but as a parent, you’re using your judgment to protect them.
Hosting a teenage party
Teenage parties might be challenging to host, but it’s possible to create a fun party for your child and their friends while also reducing the risks involved.
Safe party planning
Safe planning is helpful when you’re deciding with your child how their party will be organized and run on the night, and makes sure everyone is on the same page. This includes how alcohol, smoking, and other drugs are going to be managed.
Planning the details
Discussing the following can help make sure everyone’s got the same expectations about the party and has a good time.
Budget: Setting a budget will help decide the number of guests, the location, the type of entertainment, and catering.
Location: While you’re thinking about the location, try to consider:
- Security – how will you prevent gate-crashers, and if the party’s at home are some locations going to be off-limits, and how will you keep your pets safe?
- Insurance – if the party’s at home, find out about your liability insurance cover
- Cleaning – who’s going to clean up the mess?
- Neighbors – who needs to be told about the party beforehand?
Guest list: Talk about how many people you feel comfortable with, the ages of guests, and whether known ‘trouble-makers’ will be invited.
Start and finish time: Agree on the start and finish time, including specifics of when the music will be turned off and drinks stopped. A pre-determined time will make it easier to pull the plug.
Safety tips for school graduation parties
Your child is going to graduations celebrations and can be stressful, but helping them understand the challenges they may face can help them party safely, enjoy their time, and put your mind at ease.
In the lead up to the events, it’s a good idea to talk with your child about alcohol and drugs. You can discuss some of the tips below for staying safe and having a good time during the celebrations with them.
Think before drinking alcohol
- You don’t have to drink alcohol to have fun – make sure you create good memories at schoolies, not bad ones. If you do drink, don’t get drunk.
- You can fake drinking – if you don’t want to drink but are worried that you won’t fit in, you can brainstorm some ideas for faking it. You could ask a bartender to pour you a coke in a rocks glass, sip very slowly or just hold a drink in your hand, or tell your friends that you’re on antibiotics.
- Eat and drink water – if you drink alcohol make sure you eat, too, and drink water between alcoholic drinks. This can keep you from getting drunk and winding up puking and/or getting hurt.
- Stay on the right side of the law – giving your friends who are under 21 alcohol is illegal if you don’t have their parent’s consent under secondary supply laws. You can be fined.
- Keep an eye out for drink spiking – don’t accept drinks from strangers and keep your drink in your hand.
Think before taking illicit drugs
- There’s no way of knowing what you’re taking – it’s impossible to know what is really in a drug, or how strong it is. The only risk-free choice is to avoid or refuse.
- Drugs affect everyone differently – just because a friend has taken a drug and is OK doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on you.
- Don’t mix drugs – taking different drugs at the same time (including with alcohol, prescription medicine, and over-the-counter drugs) can have unpredictable effects and can make it easier to overdose.
- Avoid synthetic drugs – these drugs are not safe even though they are sometimes sold in shops and online. Early research suggests they have worse and more unpredictable effects than common illegal drugs.
- Never carry or consume illegal drugs overseas – many countries have tough penalties for people arrested with drugs, including life imprisonment or death.
You are a role model
You are the greatest influence on your child, and how you behave at parties sets an example for them. Our Safe partying for all ages fact sheet can help you role model positive behavior.