These Beach Parties Can Be Fun. Even For Parents.

Posted by on Nov 20, 2010 | 3 Comments

This nice Dad is teaching his son to swim like a fish. Not drink like one.

This nice Dad is teaching his son to swim like a fish. Not drink like one.

You’ve got to feel sorry for any kid who has to appeal to the entire population of the planet to come to their party to be sure anyone turns up.

If your teenage cool quota is so low among your peers that you have to resort to an anonymous appeal via a global social networking site to the world’s flotsam and jetsam to turn up to pretend to like you, you must have really bad hair, social skills, or perhaps both.

In fact, such an appeal can have two motivations, the other being to cause trouble by creating a situation which has the potential to descend into mayhem. And mayhem is what you get when you’re not picky about your drinking buddies.

I remember attending a couple of the Sweetwaters festivals several eons ago. Initially they were great fun, with people who turned up tending to be like-minded. However, once word got out that these events weren’t just hippie love-ins, every thug and his dog (literally) started turning up.

I remember seeing the Mongrel Mob there one year, and thinking “Who invited them?” And of course, a small number of thugs packing that level of malevolence can have a big impact on a crowd around them. One of them decided to make his way through the crowd with the help of a small chainsaw he swung laconically from side to side as he walked, the huge crowd thrown into fear by those unfortunate few close enough to be in danger, and panicking to get out of the way. One thug, thousands panicked.

Mass gatherings of teens/early 20s – when combined with alcohol in the West or religious fervour in the East – always end like this. With no natural hierarchy or figure of authority in place, extreme behaviour becomes cool, whether it’s the rugby league player simulating bestiality, or the Turkish Cypriot teen who – egged on by his mates – provoked the guards on their disputed border by climbing their flagpole. One case ended in abject humiliation; the other with a bullet in the head.

So if these parties are going to happen – and it is absolutely fair that they should be able to while they remain parties and not riots – what’s the solution?

I reckon it’s providing an appropriate symbol of authority.  The police are not a resource to look after our kids; they are a powerful symbol of the State’s right to hurt you. By the time the police turn up, you are generally already in a situation that has deteriorated to the point where there is a likelihood people are going to get hurt; especially if the police turn up in riot gear.

I don’t believe it’s the polices’ role to wander beneficently among our teens as they gambol playfully in the sand, reminding them of their responsibilities to remain a member of the human race, as the sun and alcohol slowly takes its toll. They have more important things to do than that.

So – in returning to a common theme – I believe it is up to the parents  and  older siblings to turn up and demonstrate responsible behaviour, and to keep both an eye on and a respectable distance from the young scamps as they amuse themselves among the waves.

As soon as parents turn up, the informal and natural networks of a community are re-created. The parents who know each other start chatting, and suddenly your Dad, and your three best mates’ Dads (please no Mums!) are there; not in your face or standing over you, but just over there a bit, on the grass under the trees, pretty much out of sight. And you know if you start looking drunk in front of that audience, Very Bad Things will come to live at your house.

A healthy community should not need to rely on the police to parent its kids in the basics of behaviour. Parents must do it. Not by parenting, but just by being there.

If you think back over your reckless years, how many times were you drunk in front of your parents? My count is easy: never. There’s something very uncool about it, right? And something even un-cooler about being drunk in front of your mates’ parents (21sts excepted).

So dads; cancel your golf for the weekend of the Castor Bay / Long Bay party and go hang out with your mates at the beach. Easy. Just remember two things. 1. Keep an eye on the lad/lass. 2. Don’t get drunk. The only thing uncooler than getting drunk in front of your mates’ parents is your parents getting drunk in front of your mates.


  1. GB says:

    We are a nation of boozers, and rich kids have too much money and idle time on their hands today, is what is really going down eh!..Should be a ban of illegal gathering of youth with alcohol in public places, who seem to facebook and text to many when they walk around, and I couldn’t give a rats a who their ‘so called’ influencial Parents are! 🙂

  2. Owen says:

    best bit of common sense I’ve read in a long time.

    Thank you.


  3. brenda says:

    The Speculator comes out with a different perspective yet again. Keep it coming!

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