Party. Gath. Gatho. Get together.

If your daughter isn’t attending these yet, she may well be in the future. Celebrating and spending time with friends is fun, and these social events are part of many of our lives. These events are more fun for parents when the teenagers socialising do so safely.

Centred around their harm minimisation approach, Encounter Youth delivered a considered and informative session on drug and alcohol safety for young people at Walford last week. Their key takeaway message to our daughters was: “Look after yourself. Look after your mates. It’s your choice”. The students were educated about the risks associated with alcohol consumption as well as e-cigarettes or vapes. The presenters also shared some statistics about alcohol consumption in young people, noting that healthy lifestyle trends have contributed to lowered consumption rates in adolescents, thus prompting use of the terms “your choice”, as many young people are choosing not to drink.

The seminar for Year 9 students, “Know your limits”, covered the developing identities of adolescents, the choices they may be faced with, and what actions to take if there is an emergency.

At the parent information session that evening, the following suggested actions for parents were discussed:

  • Talk to your daughter. What is she worried about? What are you worried about? How can you work together to agree on an approach?
  • Educate yourself. Again, talk to your daughter about what she knows about drugs, vapes and alcohol. What are the laws? What are the risks?
  • Support your daughter to develop “graceful exits” to use in situations that may arise. What strategies can she use to keep safe and exit situations in which she feels uncomfortable?

Encounter Youth has some excellent parent resources, including a party safe checklist. These can be found at . Other useful resources for young people and parents can be located at .

If you have any concerns about your daughter or you need the support of the School, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your daughter’s Mentor or to me.

Alice Speirs
Acting Head of Middle School