Alcohol Action Ireland 8 September 2009
Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, urged parents of Junior Cert students to be aware of the challenges and pressures facing their children on results night and have an open and honest conversation with their children.
Alcohol Action Ireland Director Fiona Ryan said: “Over 56,500 young people have worked very hard to reach this critical educational milestone and, of course, they will want to celebrate. We know there will be significant temptation and pressure for some young people to celebrate with alcohol but our hope is that the majority will look at other ways of celebrating that don’t involve alcohol.
“International research has shown that our children, and in particular our girls, report being drunk more often than their counterparts in most other European countries. The consumption of spirits by young Irish girls is a particular worry. Junior Cert-ers and their parents need to know just how alcohol affects them, that it can severely impair their judgement and catapult them into dangerous situations which they might never have found themselves in if without alcohol.
“Some parents might even be tempted to buy alcohol for their teenagers believing that they can supervise the drinking and reduce their risk of harm. It might be understandable but it’s a very risky course of action since it effectively tells children that their parents think it’s ok to drink and what happens the next time? Parents can help protect their children by asking their children about their plans for the evening; if their teenager is planning on drinking? Where they are going? Who with? How will they get home? Parents might also want to consider the other ways teenagers get alcohol – targeting lax off-licenses and by asking older siblings or friends to buy alcohol for them.”
Ms Ryan suggested that the following questions, conversation points could be considered:
- Ask your child what their plans are: Where will you go? Who are you going with? How will you get home?
- Let your child know that you do not want them to drink but if they do end up drinking, you won’t approve of their behaviour but their safety is the most important thing:
* Urge them to watch out for themselves and their friends – never
leave a vulnerable friend on their own
* Tell them if something happens and they are not sure whether a
friend needs an ambulance, call an ambulance. Better safe than
sorry and the fear of being caught drinking shouldn’t stop them
from seeking help
* Let your child know that they can say “no” to friends offers and
still be friends
For parents who want more information on talking to their children about drinking, go to www.alcoholireland.ie in the Alcohol and You section. Additional advice can be obtained from the HSE’s publication Straight Talk: A guide to teenage drinking. Parents and young people can also check out www.nonameclub.ie, the national organization which works with young people to organize and enjoy positive alternatives to drug and alcohol- centred activities, will be providing a list of Junior Cert events happening around the country.
For further information contact:
Alcohol Action Ireland Communications Officer Jo Fox 01 878 0612 or CEO Fiona Ryan on 087 219 5723