Drinkaware, the national charity working to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse in Ireland, is urging parents to speak about celebrating safely with their teenagers ahead of Leaving Cert results.
The call comes as Drinkaware’s Alcohol & COVID-19 Barometer found that 82% of 18-24s report drinking for social reasons including celebrating and ‘because it’s fun’ (compared to 49% national average). The new research also revealed that 62% of u25s report drinking to cope with feelings of stress, anxiety and loneliness, and 1 in 4 are drinking more during COVID-19.
Drinkaware has shared five tips to support parents to speak openly celebrating safely:
Sheena Horgan, Drinkaware CEO, commented: “This is a year like no other and the Leaving Cert Class of 2020 is facing unprecedented stress, anxiety and uncertainty. Drinkaware is always being asked by parents how and when they should discuss alcohol with their children and young people. Especially at this time and regarding the results, we advise parents to talk openly about how their young adults cope with the intense feelings of stress, or celebration, or peer pressure – all of which can be prevalent at this milestone in their lives. And because we know alcohol is often used as a coping strategy, it is important that parents discuss how they can manage these feelings in a healthy way and without alcohol.
College offers and starting college can be a challenging experience. With the added pressures of delayed results and offers, and lots of media coverage and public discussion, there is justified concern that overwhelmed students may turn to alcohol to cope. There needs to be a sense of urgency to support our young people to develop healthy coping skills to mind mental health at this time and going forward. Our tips and other Drinkaware resources, and the signposting on our website, provide supports for parents to facilitate this. We are also encouraging parents to mind their own mental health during this time.
It’s worth pointing out that Generation Z – which includes this cohort of students – is increasingly interested in being ‘sober curious’ and health-conscious, so the desire to be alcohol-free is there and a bit of added encouragement from parents can go a long way.”
Visit our parent website for detailed information, advice and tools: drinkaware.ie/parents
The Leaving Certificate Helpline - 1800 265 165 - will open from Monday to offer advice and support to students and parents, operated by the National Parents Council post primary. Visit https://www.npcpp.ie/leaving-cert-helpline/