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.
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:
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:
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:
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
adf.org.aucommunity.adf.org.aushop.adf.org.auThe 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.
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 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, 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 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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.