Q. I don't want my child to attend Schoolies. What are the alternatives?
A. In the past, parents who have not wanted their children to attend Schoolies Week have offered tangible alternatives including a first car or a laptop in exchange for not attending. In most cases, these are things that schoolies value more than a week of partying, and it helps them to appreciate your opinion.
Parents wary of the larger celebrations have offered a compromise by offering to pay for their children to attend Schoolies Week at Airlie Beach or the Sunshine Coast, while their children would have to pay for themselves to attend Schoolies on the Gold Coast.
There are a few alternative programs to the usual Schoolies Week festivities put on by local councils. Some of these are:
Many schoolies are now also organizing overseas travel for their Schoolies Week, often with friends or family. The key is to discuss the range of options with your child, and look at exactly what they hope to get out of Schoolies Week.
Q. Should I buy alcohol for my child?
A. Studies have shown that adolescents are less likely to drink and less likely to engage in binge drinking if parents actively disapprove of this behaviour. Conversely, adolescents whose parents display a permissive attitude towards alcohol consumption tend to drink more.
(Hayes, L., Smart, D., Toumbourou, J.W. & Sanson, A. (2004). Parenting Influences on Adolescent Alcohol Use. Report prepared by the Australian Institute of Family Studies for the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Canberra: Australian Institute of Family Studies)
If my child is under 18?
Supplying liquor to minors is illegal regardless of whether you are their parent or not. Police make this very clear in the lead up to Schoolies Week, and in previous years have fined parents on-the-spot for buying their children alcohol. Your child can also be fined, which in most cases, will fall back upon you as a parent as well.
Current laws in Schoolies locations are as follows:
Queensland: Parents can be fined up to $6000 for supplying their underage children with alcohol. Underage drinking or possession of liquor in a public place could result in a fine of up to $1875. (2008)
NSW: On July 1 2008, fines in NSW for supplying alcohol to minors rose to $11,000 and/or 12 months in jail, while penalties for minors caught inside licensed venues or buying alcohol doubled to $2,200. Additionally, minors who use false identification to buy alcohol or enter licensed premises unlawfully will be required to spend an extra six months on their provisional driver's licence.
Western Australia: If an adult buys alcohol for a minor, both the adult and the minor are guilty of an offence and could be fined a maximum of $2,000.
Victoria: If a minor receives alcohol from an adult, both the minor and the adult are committing an offence and could be fined in excess of $500.
If my child is over 18?
When a student's money to purchase alcohol comes from their own pocket they are more price-sensitive and tend to purchase and consume less. Schoolies are also less likely to share their alcohol with others if they have had to pay for it themselves.
Q. How can I prevent becoming a grandparent over Schoolies?
A. As embarrassing as it is for both you and your child to discuss their sexual activity at Schoolies, they will definitely be surrounded with sexual propositions, expectations, and opportunities. And, as well as being away from home - often unsupervised for the first time - and surrounded with pressure from peers, the prevalence of alcohol at Schoolies Week makes decision-making that much harder for schoolies. Alcohol is proven to lower inhibitions and impair judgement, and it does affect a person’s ability to say ‘no’.
Discuss options with your child about setting up accountability with their friends. Things that have worked in the past include:
- Each person in the group of friends has a designated sober night to look after their mates.
- Friends can be accountable to one another to make sure no-one goes off with someone alone.
Make sure your child is aware of the consequences of sexual activity outside of a committed relationship. Talk to your young person about whether or not they would like to become a mother or father during Schoolies Week. Is this really a good way to begin their post-school life?
Q. What can I do to help prepare my child for Schoolies Week?
A. Young people at Schoolies often forget how much mum and dad really do for them, like cooking and cleaning. You can help your child by cooking and freezing meals for them prior to the week, providing a suggested shopping list that includes more than alcohol and Coco Pops, and letting them know that no matter what time of day or night, if they need to call you they can! It is also important to let your child know that no matter what kind of trouble they get into you are willing to listen and to help. If a child thinks their behaviour will cause you to get angry at them, they probably won’t call you, even if they really need help.
Q. Can I get the Red Frog Crew to visit my child at Schoolies?
A. Yes! You can ring our Red Frog call centre on our 24 Hour Hotline to arrange for one of our teams to visit your child during Schoolies Week. Our crew can arrange a pancake breakfast, help them keep their room in a livable condition, and just be there to talk to them. The number to call is 1300 557 123. Please let us know which hotel your child is staying in, and their room number.