Talk to your teen about alcohol ahead of Junior Cert results

By Aura McMenamin

If your child is getting their Junior Cert results on Wednesday morning, chances are that they will want to celebrate this milestone in their youth with a night out.

For a lot of teenagers, tradition dictates they celebrate with friends at an underage disco. Venues like Wright’s and Play usually promise a night of Top 40 music, dancing, confetti and/or foam and maybe even a celebrsity guest.

alcohol

Although these venues are strictly alcohol-free for the night, as parents know, it’s not unusual for teens to have pre-drinks with their friends.

That’s why Drinkaware.ie are urging parents to speak to their children about alcohol ahead of their big night tomorrow.

A new report from Drinkaware.ie found that seven out of 10 parents believe their drinking habits influence their children’s attitudes towards alcohol.

However, only 3 out of 5 parents are confident about talking to their children about alcohol, a decrease on their previous survey from 2015.

The independent alcohol advice website surveyed 503 parents of children and teens aged 11 to 15

Drinkaware said that more worryingly, their survey found that there is an increase of parents who believe it is acceptable for children to drink alcohol at home before the age of 15: 14 per cent in 2017, compared to nine per cent in 2015.

The independent alcohol advice website says that parents could suggest an alternative to a night out by way of having an alcohol-free house party for their friends.

Drinkaware recommends to speak to your child about the risks of underage drinking before an incident occurs and clarify their plans for the night: Who is going? Where is it? How will they get home? Will alcohol be available? When is the curfew?

They also suggest that parents should set rules in the night on drinking and warn them of the consequences if they break those rules. However parents should remind their children that they can text them immediately if they begin to feel unwell.

Niamh Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer of Drinkaware said: “[Parents] often worry that friends have more influence on if or when their child will drink alcohol, but this just isn’t the case.

“Family members, in particular parents, are the single strongest influence on young people’s attitudes towards alcohol. Parents should be empowered by this and get involved in their child’s plans for results night celebrations.”

Liam Twomey, Chief Medical Officer, Drinkaware said that their research highlights a worrying trend among parents with over half believing it is acceptable for their child to drink at home before the age of 18.

“Young people are telling us that they are looking for alternatives to alcohol,” he said. “Now it’s time we listened to them and gave them the kind of practical knowledge and advice they can apply to stay safe and be healthy.”

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