A new report commissioned by Drinkaware has revealed that 95% of Junior Cert students learn more about alcohol from their parents than any other source. The Behaviour and Attitudes research was conducted with 200 Junior Cert students from across Ireland in order to identify the main contributory and influencing factors on young people’s attitudes towards alcohol. (1)
Some key findings from the research:
Ms Yvonne Rossiter, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Drinkaware said:
“At Drinkaware, we are regularly contacted by parents who worry that friends and peers have more influence on when their child will drink alcohol but this just isn’t the case. This important research shows that all family members, and in particular parents, have been shown to be the single strongest influence on their child’s attitudes towards alcohol.”
The report also revealed that:
Ms Rossiter continued: “While it is important to note that not every teenager will drink alcohol, we simply cannot ignore the reality which is that young Irish people are not only drinking at a younger age than many of their European peers, they are more likely to binge drink when they do. Irish teenage girls now drink as much alcohol as boys, a trend uncommon in other parts of the world. This is without knowing the true cost to their health and well-being. We cannot afford to underestimate the association between underage alcohol use and alcohol-related problems later in life.”
Ahead of the State exams drawing to a close in the coming week, Drinkaware is appealing to parents to talk openly and honestly to their children about alcohol at this high-risk time.
Drinkaware’s dedicated parent page and booklet, Your Children and Alcohol, were developed to provide support, facts and resources to encourage parents to proactively and confidently start a conversation about alcohol with their children.
Drinkaware has the following advice for parents and guardians about how to have that conversation with their child if they are celebrating the end of the Junior or Leaving Cert:
“The post-exam celebrations do not have to be synonymous with the now expected reports about drunken teenagers spilling out of nightclubs across the country. We simply should not accept that the two go hand in hand. We should not presume that young people will drink to excess. 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”, Ms Rossiter concluded.
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