The key steps involved in working with parents and key influencers of teenagers are provided below as a useful starting point for developing your Community Action Plan. These steps provide an indicative guide; it is important to tailor your approach to your local community.

Deliver workshops for parents and key influencers

LDATs should not deliver workshops unless the organisations in their team have the appropriate expertise. In the event that they don’t, the primary role of LDATs should be to support ‘suitably qualified’ community organisations to deliver workshops for parents and key influencers.

Workshops may address one or more of the following content areas:

It is important that the workshops are based on current evidence. The ADF provides evidence-informed information and recommends that LDATs use this content when delivering workshops in their community.

LDATs may also wish to use the resources developed by other organisations including:

The workshop format can be flexible and tailored to meet the needs and preferences of your community.

Tips for choosing the workshop venue

Choosing the right venue is another important consideration. Consider the following when selecting the location for your workshop:

  • What is the most appropriate venue for local parents?
  • What is the venue capacity? (How many people are attending?)
  • What are the costs associated?
  • Is there easy access for all (e.g. available parking, close to public transport, wheelchair access)?
  • How will the room be set up? (Does there need to be room for people to move around?)
  • Do you need to provide chairs, tables, catering?

A whole-of-community approach to prevent AOD harm among teenagers is recommended. This requires working with community partners to deliver multiple and mutually reinforcing interventions. A parent/key influencer workshop may form part of the overall work being undertaken by your LDAT to achieve its objectives. Be mindful that one-off, isolated events are not effective at creating change.

Tips for promoting the workshop

Consider how you will spread the word in your community to promote the workshop and attract parents and key influencers. This might include one or more of the following:

  • Local paper
  • Radio station
  • Community noticeboards
  • School newsletters
  • Social media
  • Sporting clubs
  • Partner organisations
  • Local community champions.

When promoting the workshop, include information that informs parents and key influencers of the purpose of the workshop, and how they can register to attend.

Tips for running the workshop

Good practices for running a workshop include:

  • Welcoming people, introducing yourself and other facilitators present, and briefly explaining the work of the LDAT.
  • Providing an overview and purpose of your meeting. It is important to always keep in mind the outcome – and how you are helping the group reach it.
  • Outlining the workshop’s approach as intending to be respectful – that collectively participants want to help reduce the harms associated with alcohol and other drugs for their children i.e. not judging people for their views or actions. You may want to establish some ground rules.
  • State that the information provided will be factual and evidence-informed where available.
  • Share anything you have gleaned from previous discussions in the community e.g. the level of community interest in having the LDAT host a workshop, or areas of concern raised by parents. Validate this with the group.
  • Encourage active participation and allow for problem solving and/or skill acquisition. Involve the group in all phases of the workshop.
  • Give people an opportunity to reflect on their strengths and challenges.
  • Invite questions, group discussion, and debate. Encourage attendees to learn from each other – if a problem is presented, allow parents the opportunity to offer possible strategies rather than giving them the answer.
  • Provide some information about where they can get help if needed.
  • Summarise your workshop and request feedback from the group. Have some simple tools to measure the success of your events. For example, a short survey provides an opportunity for honest feedback/evaluation.
  • Reflect on what could be improved on or helpful for next time.
Happy teens

Link parents and key influencers to quality information and resources

It is important that parents have access to quality information and resources about alcohol and other drugs to support their own understanding and to ensure they can provide accurate and positive support to their teenager. LDATs have a role in linking parents of teenagers and key influencers with quality information and resources, ensuring consistency in how these are communicated. If the messages a young person receives about alcohol and other drugs from their school, family and community are consistent they are more likely to accept the advice being given.A number of reputable organisations produce evidence-informed information on alcohol and other drugs. Most information is available free-of-charge, both online and in printed form.Some useful sites for this information

  • Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) ADF is an independent, non-profit organisation working to prevent and reduce alcohol and drug issues in the Australian community. The ADF administers several websites and is a good source of evidence-based information on most drugs that are being used illegally or unsafely. This includes an online shop where pamphlets, books and other resources can be sourced.

  • Australian Drug Information Network (ADIN)

This site is funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing to provide a central point of access to Australian drug and alcohol information.

  • headspace

headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. It provides early intervention mental health services to 12-25-year-olds, as well as assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing. This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and AOD services.

  • Orygen

Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, is the world’s leading research and knowledge translation organisation focusing on mental ill-health in young people.

  • Parenting Strategies: Preventing Adolescent Alcohol Misuse

Parenting Strategies offers an online parenting program to help parents manage challenging issues they may face with their children. These include alcohol and drug misuse, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Their website contains the Parenting Guidelines for Adolescent Alcohol Use.

  • Positive Choices

Positive Choices provides a range of evidence-based information and resources to help parents and key influencers stay informed, communicate effectively, and implement strategies to protect teenagers from drug related harm.

  • Raising Children Network

The Raising Children Network is an online resource for parents that offers information and tools on a wide range of parenting topics including alcohol and other drugs.

  • Youth Drugs and Alcohol Advice (YoDAA)

YoDAA provides online and evidence-informed information and resources on alcohol and other drugs specific to young people.
LDATs may find it beneficial to consult with local youth agencies and health service providers, as they may have additional resources.LDATs may distribute information to parents in a number of ways, including for example:

  • Community events (e.g. secondary school open days, community festival)
  • Local media (e.g. local paper, radio station)
  • Partnerships and networks (e.g. inclusion in partner newsletters, speaker at workplace events).

A critical role of LDATs is to engage with their community to put AOD issues on the public agenda and to motivate them to take action.

Engage community organisations and support them to take action

Tips for engaging the community

  • Identify community organisations that you may partner with. See Section 2c: Working with community partners.
  • Identify key contacts and/or gatekeepers.

Find a named person in the organisation who can act as a champion and invest time into this relationship. A champion may be in leadership role, have an influential personality, or be a proactive person who is passionate about preventing AOD harms. For example, key contacts may include local parents, football coaches, secondary school teachers, or librarians. Meet face-to-face if you can, rather than just sending out information via email.

  • Discuss the importance of supporting teenagers. Promote the benefits to children, parents, families, and the broader community. Show them how this aligns with their core business and values.
  • Answer the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ by finding the hook for them. For example, are they motivated to deliver AOD programs due to existing problems (e.g. drug use, poor attendance) or sense of community benefit?

Work with local schools

LDATs have a key role in working with local schools to prevent AOD harms in teenagers. Projects and activities aimed at supporting teenagers and which target parents and key influencers are best delivered alongside school-based curriculum. Consistency in messaging across schools, parents and community will support teenagers’ acceptance. Key areas for LDATs to take action include engagement with schools, providing evidence around local needs, linking schools to quality programs, and supporting schools with communication.Useful resources

  • The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Education in Schools toolkit
  • CLIMATE Schools program

Deliver peer support programs

LDATs can support communities to deliver peer support programs to prevent AOD harms in teenagers. Key areas of action for LDATs include: consultation, planning and design, recruiting peer leaders, engaging young people, matching peers, supervision and monitoring.

Please get in touch to find out more about the program
Please get in touch to find out more about the program