Exam results night is not the night for sleepovers. In a recent survey we carried out with parents, unsupervised parties were amongst the top concerns parents have when it comes to their young person and alcohol.
Insist on picking up your young person at an agreed time, so you can be reassured that they get home safely and come to no harm.
Your Behaviour Matters
Parents lead by example and modelling responsible behaviour is very important as young people emulate parental behaviour. It helps them develop responsible decision making and to understand there are consequences to behaviour – all valuable skills for living and working.
Showing them that alcohol isn’t an essential requirement for you to celebrate an achievement or to mark an occasion or to have fun can have a powerful impact on their future decision making.
Your Attitude Matters
Your attitudes and behaviour during this milestone can impact the young person’s attitudes, actions and behaviour.
Alcohol really should have no place in celebrations for those under 18 years old and should be treated with caution and respect by those over 18.
The brain is still developing up to the age of 24 and alcohol impacts memory and the decisions made while under the influence. Delaying a young person’s drinking age reduces the risk of harmful drinking later in life. (2)
Put Boundaries in Place
Young people need to be aware of potential dangers linked to unsafe behaviours such as harmful alcohol consumption, reckless driving, or other risky activity.
They need to know of potential consequences, both personal and legal that may arise from such behaviours.
Having boundaries in place, that are agreed together in advance, can help keep them safe and well on nights out.
Your Influence Matters
Parents and Family members have the single strongest influence of all external factors on young people’s attitudes towards drinking. (3) This was also identified by young people themselves (4) where they identified parents as being the main source of information on alcohol.
Having a good quality parent/child relationship is connected with delayed alcohol initiation and reduced later alcohol use. (5) Delaying alcohol consumption is important as research shows that 1 in 3 or 38% of young people aged 15 to 24 have an alcohol use disorder (AUD). (6)
By showing young people you are operating out of a place of love and respect you can really have an impact on the future they are creating for themselves.
Celebrating safely by staying sober reduces the risk of accidents and injuries to self or others and involves responsible decision-making.
This is the beginning of a new phase with new opportunities and new challenges for your young person.
They still need you – your presence, love and support in their lives. Do not underestimate that need or your influence.
Take care of yourself and mind your own health and wellbeing. You are their greatest resource!
Support For Parents and Young People
For further support and information please register for Drinkaware Webinar – “Parents’ role in influencing young people to celebrate safely.”
It takes place from 1.00pm -2.00pm on Tuesday 22nd August. The webinar aims to:
- Highlight the important role of parents in supporting young people to celebrate safely
- Provide you with facts, knowledge and tips to help you have a conversation about celebrations and alcohol with your young person
- Offer tips and advice on how to stay safe, especially if choosing to drink
- Establish what other supports would benefit Parents.
(1) Grant et al (1997) cited in Mongan et al (2007) Health Related Consequences of Problem Alcohol Use. Overview 6. Dublin. Health Research Board.
(2) Straight Talk – A Guide For Parents on Teenage Drinking, Health Promotion Unit, H.S.E.
(3) Behaviour & Attitudes (2016). Alcohol Education. Is it meeting the Needs of Junior Certificate Students? Dublin: Report Commissioned by Drinkaware.
(4) The Drinkaware Index (2019): Analysing Hazardous Drinking in Ireland. Dublin, Drinkaware
(5) S. M. Ryan, et al, Parents Factors Associated with Reduced Adolescent Alcohol Use, (Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2010) p 779.
(6) Health Research Board (2022) HRB Overview Series 12 Alcohol and other drug use among children and young people in Ireland: prevalence, risk and protective factors, consequences, responses, and policies Anne Doyle, Salome Sunday, Brian Galvin, Deirdre Mongan
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