Over half of parents believe it is acceptable for teenagers to drink alcohol at home
More than half of parents believe it is acceptable for their teenagers to drink alcohol at home, according to the latest research by Drinkaware.
Ahead of the state exams drawing to a close, Drinkaware is appealing to parents to talk openly and honestly to their children about alcohol and their plans for celebrating this milestone.
Research conducted by Drinkaware found that over half (53%) of parents surveyed believe it is acceptable for their children to drink alcohol at home before the age of 18, while 30% feel this is acceptable to do under the age of 16.
According to Drinkaware, parents are a key source for children to learn about alcohol and have a unique role to play in shaping their attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol.
Drinkaware is urging parents to be empowered by this and get involved in their child’s plans ahead of the end of exams celebrations.
Speaking about the latest research, Drinkaware CEO Niamh Gallagher said: “We are regularly contacted by parents who worry that friends and peers have more influence on when their child will drink but our research shows that all family members, and in particular parents, are the single strongest influence on their child’s opinions about alcohol.”
The latest figures released by Drinkaware shows that parents rarely actively seek information about some of the most worrying effects of underage drinking – the link between alcohol and mental health, illegal drug use and sexual health.
The research states that only one in 10 parents obtains the facts about alcohol and the dangers of underage drinking before talking to their children.
Recent HSE statistics reported that there were more than five times as many teenage admissions to one of the State’s main children’s hospitals due to alcohol use last year compared with 2015.
The latest study found that 51% of sampled 13-17 year olds in Ireland have tried alcohol with one quarter admitting they drank so much alcohol that they were really drunk.
Speaking about upcoming exam celebrations, Ms Niamh Gallagher CEO of Drinkaware said: “First of all, congratulations to all those students that have completed their exams and best of luck to those who are preparing for their final exams.
“Naturally students will want to go out and celebrate with their friends – our advice is to take steps to ensure they do so safely and responsibly.
“Parents should talk to their teens about alcohol and discuss their plans for any end of exam celebrations.
“At Drinkaware, we are regularly contacted by parents who worry that friends and peers have more influence on when their child will drink but our research shows that all family members, and in particular parents, are the single strongest influence on their child’s opinions about alcohol.”
She continued: “We also have a dedicated parent page (drinkaware.ie/parents) and booklet, Your Children and Alcohol, which provide support, facts and resources to encourage parents to proactively and confidently start a conversation about alcohol with their children.”