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This letter arrived too late for publication in the November 1 edition of the Argyllshire Advertiser, but is published ahead of the fireworks display, which we hope everyone will enjoy safely.
I am writing as a concerned parent, living in Mid Argyll.
Fireworks night in Lochgilphead is always a magical event, made possible by the hard work and dedication of volunteers in our community and the Round Table. It brings families together and is a genuine community event, in one of the best settings for fireworks that you could ask for, with the reflections in the waters of Loch Gilp adding to the spectacle.
For the last few years, however, the fantastic events of the early evening have been somewhat spoilt by an unpleasant atmosphere created by under-age drinkers in the town.
Apparently, young people from outside of Mid Argyll have travelled to our town for the purposes of meeting up with our own children, getting drunk and causing trouble. Several parents and carers I know look on the evening with a mix of excitement about the fireworks and dread about what our children might get involved with.
Of course, we want evenings like fireworks night to be enjoyable for all those in our community. We want our children and young people to enjoy community events in the company of other young people and adults who will keep them safe and help them learn safely about alcohol.
For this to happen, we adults need to know where our children are, who they are mixing with and what they are doing. We need to understand that teenagers are very susceptible to peer pressure. This means that they will sometimes make poor decisions if we don’t set clear boundaries for them and make sure that they are supervised properly until an age when they can resist peer pressure more successfully; recent research into the brain shows that, for some young people, this may not be until they are in their early 20s.
If you want to know how to keep your child safe in relation to alcohol, there is some excellent advice in the parent area of the Alcohol Education Trust website.
One of my favourite parts is this: ‘It’s because you care, not because you’re being a killjoy. Don’t feel pressured by younger teens to provide them with alcohol to take with them to parties. They may tell you everyone else’s parents do this, but that’s just not true…’
The adults of Mid Argyll need to work together to ensure that November 2 is a night to remember, for all the right reasons.
We owe it to the volunteers, to Mid Argyll Round Table and to one another – but above all, we owe it to the children of our community.
Name and address supplied