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Planning for Leavers

It is important to support your child in planning their leavers to help avoid some of the potential harms that could occur.

If your child is attending Leavers, make sure you have the following key information: 1

  • The dates that your son or daughter will be away;.
  • How they will be getting to and from their selected destination; and
  • Where they are staying – obtain the name, address and contact details of the accommodation venue.

    Know your responsibility

    Leavers is a great time for your child to celebrate completing high school. However, it is important that you do not provide your children with alcohol to take to Leavers. Research of Western Australian students celebrating at a popular Leavers destination has shown that children who were supplied alcohol by their parents for the celebrations were more likely to drink at risky levels.2

    Even if your child is 18 years old, a lot of Leavers are under the age of 18 years. Agencies and volunteers work very hard to ensure that Leavers have a fun, safe experience without the need for alcohol, and as such all official Leavers activities are alcohol-free.3

    Under the Liquor Control Act 1988, it is an offence for juveniles (those under the age of 18) to possess alcohol in a public place. Opened or unopened alcohol will be confiscated by WA Police and juveniles can be fined $200. Adults who purchase alcohol for juveniles may also be breaking the law and can be fined a maximum of $2000.4 For more information on alcohol and the law click here.

    Talk to your child about what to expect

    Your teenager will get expectations of what Leavers will be like from school mates and other friends. As a parent, you can discuss and explain how drinking alcohol can impact on their Leavers experience.

    Talking to your child about alcohol does not mean you are condoning drinking alcohol. Explain that you want them to have fun and enjoy themselves, but you would like to make sure that they are going to be safe.

    By discussing the potential risks your child may face during Leavers through consuming alcohol, you can help them prepare strategies to stay safe. Some ideas for discussion with your child include the following:

    • Discuss your expectations about alcohol and the reasons why. You could make an agreement with them about not drinking alcohol at Leavers celebrations and discuss what will happen if they break their agreement.
    • Encourage your child to participate in organised activities for Leavers that don’t include alcohol.
    • Encourage your child to look on the Leavers website to see the different types of activities that are being run at their chosen destination.
    • Suggest good responses for your child to use to refuse alcohol when it is offered. This could include comments such as “I’m not into that”, and learning to feel comfortable to say no. Having a prepared response makes it easier for people to refuse alcohol when the time comes.
    • It is easy to drink too much alcohol when you don’t know how alcohol will affect you, and that finding out how you react to alcohol in this very public setting could be potentially dangerous.
    • I Suggest alternatives to drinking alcohol such as a soft drink, juices and sparkling water.
    • Never to leave a friend alone if they are drunk or drinking alcohol as they may find themselves in trouble. 5
    • Discuss where to get help for themselves or their friends should the need arise and if they experience any problems they should contact you, WA Police or any of the support services6
      Some parents believe that supplying alcohol to young people will control the amount they drink. However, Western Australian research with Leavers suggests that this is not the case. For example, of the 25% of Leavers who said their parents provided them with alcohol at the celebrations:
    • 89% drank at levels considered risky for adults by the National Health and Medical Research Council.
    • 65% reported they had sources other than their parents providing them with alcohol. Provision of alcohol by parents is likely to be topping up this situation.
    References

    1 Leavers WA: Official Website [Webpage]. Online. Available from: https://www.leaverswa.com.au/Parents/Before-They-Go--Information-for-Parents .

    2 National Drug Research Institute. School leavers' celebration: Parents can make a difference,. National Drug Research Institute Factsheet - Information for Parents [Internet]. 2013 02/09/2013 [cited 2013 02/09/2013]. Available from: http://ndri.curtin.edu.au/local/docs/pdf/leavers/parentsfactsheet.pdf .

    3 Leavers WA: Offical Website [Webpage]. Online. Available from https://www.leaverswa.com.au/Parents/Before-They-Go--Information-for-Parents.

    4 Leavers WA: Official Website [Webpage]. Online. Available from https://www.leaverswa.com.au/Leavers/Tips-for-Leavers .

    5 Leavers WA: Official Website [Webpage]. Online. Available from: http://leaverswa.com.au/parents/ .

    6 National Drug Research Institute. School leavers' celebration: Parents can make a difference,. National Drug Research Institute Factsheet - Information for Parents [Internet]. 2013 02/09/2013 Available from: http://ndri.curtin.edu.au/local/docs/pdf/leavers/parentsfactsheet.pdf