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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:
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 judgement to protect them.
Safe partying doesn’t just reduce risks, it also helps everyone have a good time. Risky drinking can lead to getting sick, passing out, and being babysat by your friends – not fun. It’s also easier to relax and enjoy yourself when you aren’t worried about how to get home at the end of the night. Giving your child a few strategies can keep them safe while making sure they have a good night too.
Research shows that a parent’s attitudes do make a difference to their child’s behaviour, so sit down with your child and tell them how you feel. This won’t just impact their behaviour at the one party either. Knowing what your views are about alcohol and other drugs can help them make the right choice whenever they’ve got to make a decision about how to act.
If alcohol will be available and you don’t want your child drinking, tell both them and the host of the party. Most states of Australia have secondary supply laws that prohibit anyone giving alcohol to your child without written or verbal permission from you.
Prepare a good excuse with your child for them to use, like “I’m playing in a big game tomorrow” or “I’m on antibiotics”, but make sure the excuse won’t embarrass them. Discuss strategies like just holding any alcoholic drink they’re given and putting it down later.
Explain why it’s important to stick with their friends. If they do leave, it’s important to let their friends know where they’re going, with who, and what they’ll be doing. This could be a good time to bring up sexual assault, consent, and unsafe sex – sometimes alcohol and other drugs play a role. You could also talk about ways to diffuse a fight or argument, and what to do if someone gets aggressive or very drunk.
It’s also important to encourage them to care for a drunk friend, or just be a good Samaritan for a stranger. You can tell them what to do with a very drunk person:
Reassuring them that paramedics don’t involve police (unless there’s violence) can help them make the right decision even if they’re scared of getting in trouble.