This time of year can be quite difficult for some, many children are leaving the school’s that they have loved, they may be starting a new school in the new year, or perhaps they have completed their years of schooling and are ready for the big wide world. At present I have a few friends who have children down on the Gold Coast at ‘Schoolies’ – I know that these parents are trying their best not to worry about their young adults. I remind them that they have brought up their children in a respectful, caring and loving environment and that that cannot be undone over a few days (we hope). It is all good and well for me to say this, however I don’t have a child that is down there!
I guess ‘schoolies’ could be a little like a baptism of fire for some young adults if they have spent their lives in cotton wool, protected from all the ‘bad things’ in the world. Just imagine if you got to the end of your schooling and without having had any real experiences or exposure, you head to the Gold Coast to celebrate the end of your schooling life? You would not know what hit you?
We need to introduce our children slowly to the road of independence. This begins by leaving our children home alone during the day from an appropriate age – there is a legal age for this, but I believe that different children need different boundaries. I know that when I started to leave my children home alone it was when I would go for a run so I was never away from the house for longer than 30 minutes when they were younger. I also knew that I couldn’t leave my youngest home for various reasons so she would come with me on her bike. As far as I’m concerned there is no magic age to begin this process but you don’t want your children to hit the end of year 12 without having had the opportunity to show you that they are capable of making the right choices.
I’m not saying that 'schoolies' is a good nor bad thing, I know that many volunteers work tirelessly to keep our young people not only safe, but also entertained. Does the media hype the troublemakers up? There are lots of wonderful activities for the young adults to participate in. If you put that amount of young adults together anywhere there is going to be some level of chaos, no matter how many preventative activities and measures are provided. Whilst every effort is made to keep these young adults safe, ‘schoolies’ does have a history of the odd person getting into trouble, be it drugs, alcohol, or just plain stupidity.
I’m going to remain on the fence for this conversation for now. I still have a few years until I need to tackle it head on. To those parents out there that have children at ‘schoolies’ this week, try to remain positive, remember that your children were raised by you and this will reflect in their behaviour. Give them a little leeway as this is their time to celebrate all that they have achieved so far in their lives and it is the beginning of them becoming functional adults.