Research commissioned by Drinkaware has revealed that almost 7 out of 10 parents believe that their own drinking habits influence their children’s attitudes to alcohol.
Despite this, children and young teenagers remain exposed to parental drinking, particularly at family occasions and in the home.
This Behaviour and Attitudes research was conducted with 503 parents in order to identify the main contributory and influencing factors on young people’s attitudes towards alcohol.
Ahead of the state exams coming to a close Drinkaware want to encourage parents to confidently speak to their children about alcohol use, with a view to increasing the age of first drink among young people and, where drinking occurs, reducing the volume of alcohol consumed on drinking occasions.
Drinkaware have the following advice for parents about how to have that conversation with their child if they are celebrating the end of the Junior or Leaving Cert:
Don’t wait for an alcohol-related incident to happen; talk to children early and often; Talk openly about their plans: Who is going? Where is it? How will they get home? Will alcohol be available? Set rules for the night together: You should both be fully aware of your rules in relation to alcohol – what is the curfew? What are the consequences for breaking the rules? Engage with other parents: Talk to the parents of your child’s friends and ensure you are familiar with their rules about alcohol.
Safety is key: Remind your child that they can call or text you if they feel unsafe or unwell at any point during the night; Provide an alternative to a night out: Could you host a party in your home? If so, remember that it is illegal to serve alcohol to minors and parental supply of alcohol is associated with increased risks.
The Drinkaware dedicated parent hub (drinkaware.ie/parents) and booklets, Your Children and Alcohol and Young People, Alcohol and Mental Health, were developed to provide support, facts and resources to encourage parents to proactively and confidently start a conversation about alcohol with their children.