Drinkaware, the national charity working to prevent and reduce the misuse of alcohol and delay the age of first drink, is engaging with parents with tips and advice on how talk to their children about alcohol.
Since the launch of a parents focused digital campaign in April 2021, Drinkaware has seen a 521 percent increase in visits to the Parents Hub section of the Drinkaware website, indicating a clear demand and desire from parents for evidence based and trusted information on how to talk to their children about alcohol.
Students who participated in the Drinkaware Junior Cycle Alcohol Education Programme which was independently evaluated by Maynooth University ranked their parents as their leading source for alcohol education at 95 percent. The demand for knowledge from both parents and young people is apparent, and Drinkaware is here to empower parents with the information needed to speak openly and honestly with the young person in their life about alcohol.
There are a lot of misconceptions about underage drinking. The tipping point for underage drinking in Ireland is 15 years old. Drinkaware, along with parents, believes that alcohol has no place in childhood, but education is essential if we are to increase the average age of first drink and ensure that future generations have the information and knowledge necessary to make informed choices around alcohol.
Drinkaware’s Parent Hub provides tips, resources, and support for parents, including a myth buster section which focuses on some of the common myths associated with young people, parenting and alcohol:
Myth: If I allow my teenager to drink at home, they will be less likely to drink outside the home.
Reality: There is growing evidence that supplying alcohol under parental supervision can have the opposite effect and is associated with additional risks, with teenagers being just as likely to misuse alcohol outside of the home.
Parents have engaged with the top tips from the Drinkaware Parents Hub, such as how to build resilience in your child for their future, and how you as a parent can be a positive and active role-model in a child’s life.
“Research consistently shows that although what influences children may change as they grow older, parents are the most powerful influence on their children’s future attitudes and behaviours, especially with regard to alcohol. It’s therefore vital that parents understand the facts and especially the myths, regarding alcohol, young people and underage drinking, and that this knowledge is supported with helpful practical advice.
“We regularly hear how people assume that most young people will drink, but it does not have to be this way and we need to challenge that expectation. Talking to young people about alcohol can be difficult, but the conversation is necessary and there’s lots of support by way of training, videos, and booklets to help them on their way at drinkaware.ie/parents
“In the run up to the summer months and with our parents’ campaign, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in visits to our Parents Hub. I invite all parents to visit the Drinkaware Parents Hub to explore the realities and myths about underage drinking, and how to talk to your teens about alcohol. Resources are also freely available, and can be sent directly to your home, to assist in conversations with teenagers,” Sheena Horgan, CEO of Drinkaware commented.