How to talk to your teenagers about the dangers of alcohol ahead of Leaving Cert results night - Alcohol Action Ireland
Published 10/08/2015 | 15:09
A leading Irish charity has issued a warning to Irish parents urging them to have a conversation about alcohol ahead of the Leaving Certificate celebrations.
Alcohol Action Ireland is encouraging parents to warn teenagers about the dangers posed by excessive alcohol consumption and to make it clear that their safety is a priority in all circumstances.
Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, is encouraging parents to talk to their children about the risks associated with alcohol ahead of their Leaving Cert results on Wednesday.
Susan Costello, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland, said teenagers should be able to phone their parents if they feel unwell or in danger without fear of being reprimanded.
“Getting the Leaving Cert results can be an emotional and, for some, stressful time, particularly for those who may not have done quite as well as they had hoped. If you add alcohol into the mix this can make an already challenging situation even more difficult for young people and put their health and safety at risk, particularly if they drink to levels they haven’t done before,” said Ms. Costello
“It is also important to let your child know they can call home without fear of recrimination if they feel unsafe or unwell at any point.
“They need to know that, as parents, while you may not be happy with the fact they may have been drinking, or how much they drank, their safety is your priority and that they are to contact you immediately if they are in trouble,” she said.
Ms Costello urged parents to be in the know when it comes to their teenagers’ plans for the evening.
“Parents must recognise that their child may end up in situations in which they may feel unwell, uncomfortable, or scared as a result of either their own or other people’s drinking.
“We are urging parents to talk openly with their children about what their plans are for the evening and make sure they know all the important details, such as what they will be doing, who they will be with where they are going and how – and at what times – they plan on getting there and coming home,” said Ms Costello.
Alcohol Action Ireland’s top tips for parents
1. Help your son or daughter plan their evening by discussing it with them, and be especially supportive of non-alcohol related activities.
2. Find out what they will be doing, who they will be with, where they are going and how – and at what times – they plan on getting there and coming home. If concerned, ask them to pop into you when they get home just to reassure you that they are alright.
3. If you know they are planning to drink, it’s a good time to have a general chat about drinking as it will undoubtedly be a major topic of conversation ahead of the Leaving Cert celebrations. Clarify what their own ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ are around alcohol and clarify what your expectations of their drinking behaviour are. Assist your son or daughter in thinking through what could go wrong - for example, if they or one of their friends drinks too much - and how they might deal with these scenarios.
4. Let your son or daughter know they can call you without fear of recrimination if they feel unsafe or unwell at any point. They need to know that, as parents, while you may not be happy with the fact they may have been drinking, or how much they drank, their safety is your priority and that they are to contact you immediately if they are in trouble.
5. If the night does go well, be interested in it afterwards. Ask them if there were any ‘near misses’ for themselves of those in their company or any other tricky situations. Help them to think through how they dealt with the situation and what they might do differently next time. If your son or daughter did stick to any agreed boundaries or expectations, let them know that you appreciate that.