Parents, make your six-point action plan now
With the Junior Cert results set to be released this Wednesday, thousands of young people across the country are planning to mark the achievement. This event can take many forms, from a party with friends to an alcohol-free event at a local venue however, the reality is that in some circumstances alcohol can become an issue. Far from expecting our young people to drink, our research with Junior Cert students found that 91% would like to find alternatives to alcohol. As a parent, you are in a unique position to make sure alcohol doesn’t affect your child’s results celebrations.
Underage drinking - what's the harm?
Drinking alcohol from a young age is associated with a wide range of harms, which should not be underestimated. Here are just a few:
- The brain continues to develop throughout childhood, adolescence and into young adulthood. If alcohol is introduced at this time it can have an impact on long-term brain function including concentration, memory and learning.
- People who start drinking alcohol at age 15 or below are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence that those who start at age 20 or older.
- Underage alcohol use can result in lower grades, poor school attendance and increases in dropout rates.
- Alcohol can reduce a young person’s physical abilities affecting judgment and co-ordination, which can result in physical harm to the person drinking or others around them.
Download our Your Children and Alcohol booklet
As a parent, what can you do?
Our research consistently shows that parents are the single strongest influence on their child's attitudes towards alcohol. Be empowered by this, follow our six-point action plan and get involved in your child’s Junior Cert results celebrations to help make this a safe night for all.
- Be Proactive: Discuss alcohol and its effects before results night. Don’t wait for an alcohol-related incident to occur.
- Plan alternative Activities: Can you host a party in your house on results night? Would your teen prefer to celebrate as a family instead?
- Set Rules together: Find out where the event is happening. Who else will be there? When is the curfew? How will they get home?
- Lead by Example: Not only is it illegal to give alcohol to anyone under the age of alcohol, parental supply of alcohol is associated with increased risks.
- Take Notice: Talk to the parents of your child’s friends about their plans for results night. Do you know their rules about alcohol?
- Keep Talking: Good communication is the key to building self-esteem and resilience in your child. Talk openly and honestly about your expectations for their behaviour on results night. Ask them how they might feel if alcohol is present at their event.