Getting drunk at a park, roaming the streets or attempting to hide your vodka-filled water bottle at a local beach -- New Year’s Eve can be a time of rebellion and danger for teenagers.
It’s those twilight years when an adolescent thinks they are too grown up to watch the fireworks with mum and dad, but are not yet old enough to attend a licensed venue.
So, what is the best solution for parents to keep their teens from sculling a box of wine in the local park?
Child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said many teenagers are sensitive to being told what to do, so including them in organising New Year’s Eve arrangements could prevent them feeling forced into doing something in which they had no say.
“I think New Year's Eve gives the family the opportunity to create a tradition, such as going somewhere to watch the fireworks,” Carr-Gregg told The Huffington Post Australia.
But the underlying issue is teenagers would rather be with their friends than family. As a young teenager the desire to be with their mates of the same age is at its peak, according to Carr-Gregg.
“Adolescents will be happy if whatever is planned includes the opportunity to be with their friends. Doing something with another family that has kids the same age is a smart move,” Carr-Gregg said.
Wendy Hamilton, mother of Daniel, 15, and 17-year-old Sarah, said it’s a really tricky time for parents who want to keep their children safe, but understand their kids want to be out with their friends.
“You can’t lock them in, but you don’t want them to go out," she said.
“Sarah doesn't know what she’s doing yet and Daniel is going bowling at Darling Harbour. He will watch the 9pm fireworks and then come home.”
Sarah said she’ll be going out, but her plans aren’t finalised.
“At this point no-one is having a party, so I’ll most likely go down to the beach.
“All my friends will be going out somewhere,” Sarah said.
Daniel, on the other hand, said some of his friends will be at parties, but it wouldn't be uncommon for some of them to stay home.
“If my parents said I couldn't go out, I would be upset, but I’d stay home,” he said.
Wendy believes you've got to let your kids make the wrong decision at times.
“If you don’t let them do it at this age, when they are 18 they are going to get silly. They [Sarah and Daniel] know I’m around if they need anything,” Wendy said.