A report commissioned by Drinkaware found that 95% of Junior Cert students learn more about alcohol from their parents than any other source. The Behaviour & Attitudes(1) research, conducted with 200 Junior Cert students from across Ireland, revealed that 56% feel that they are limited in their knowledge of alcohol use. This research also shows that 9 out of 10 Junior Cert students want to learn how to stay safe and alcohol-free.
Drinkaware have developed a comprehensive parents’ hub, with a range of age-appropriate facts, advice and resources to help initiate and guide this important conversation between parents and young people.
Ms Yvonne Rossiter, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Drinkaware said:
“These results are a fantastic achievement and of course, should be celebrated. However we are talking about young people who are about 15 years old. This is simply too young to be drinking alcohol and the harms associated with drinking from such a young age cannot be underestimated.
The post-exam celebrations do not have to be synonymous with the now expected reports about drunken teenagers spilling out of underage discos across the country. We simply should not accept that the two go hand in hand. Far from it, young people are telling us that they are looking for alternatives to alcohol and 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.”
Drinkaware have the following advice for parents and guardians to help ensure the Junior Cert results night is a safe one:
Ms Betty McLaughlin, President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors understands the impact stress can have on young people at this critical time. Ms McLaughlin supports this important initiative by Drinkaware, saying:
“The Junior Cert results can be a highly stressful and emotional time for students. Talking to a trusted adult like a parent, guardian or guidance counsellor can help to sort through any unexpected feelings about the results. It is important that students marking this milestone, especially those who are concerned with their results, do not use alcohol as a way to blow off steam; drinking to excess can have a serious impact on a young person’s physical and mental health.”
Ms Yvonne Rossiter, Interim Chief Executive Officer concluded:
“We receive countless phone calls and emails from parents who are unsure of how to approach the subject of alcohol with their teenagers, particularly leading up to exam results time. They 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. Now is the time to have that all-important conversation about alcohol.”
For parents who would like to talk to their children about alcohol and its effects, see the dedicated parents’ section of our website. Here you’ll find information and downloadable resources to help initiate and guide the conversation, advice on building resilience in your children and your influential role as a parent. See drinkaware.ie/parents
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(1) Attitudes to Health & Alcohol among Junior Cert Students, Behaviour and Attitudes, April 2016