If the messages a young person is receiving about alcohol and other drugs from their school, family and community are the same, the more likely they are to believe them and follow rules.
Starting a dialogue with your child’s school and other parents is the first step towards making sure everyone is on the same page.
Connecting with other parents can help you exchange ideas, tips, and talk through different approaches towards handling alcohol and drugs. Having a consensus among parents in your community about the best way to tackle this issue means that your children will be receiving a consistent message from their friend’s parents as well as yourself.
Your child’s school is a great space to meet and get to know other parents, such as through the parent council or parent-teacher association.
Alcohol and drug topics will be covered at various stages through your child’s education, typically as part of the health curriculum. In primary school they will probably talk about medicine and tobacco, and in secondary school they will cover alcohol and illegal drugs. However, drug education is inconsistently delivered across Australian schools so you need to talk to your school to find out what they’re covering.
If you’re worried about the quality of the drug education your children are receiving, you can encourage the school to look into evidence-based programs such as:
Online learning modules are available through this program and are aimed at years 8-10 students. The training covers alcohol, cannabis, psychostimulants, ecstasy, and emerging drugs. Your school will need to register to access these courses.
Research shows that when parents are involved in school drug education it’s more effective, so discuss what topics are being covered in the curriculum, when, and how you can follow up at home.
Programs to help your children enjoy school can help prevent them from developing alcohol and drug problems. Encourage and support your school to have good mentoring and anti-bullying programs, and breakfast and homework clubs.