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Why parents make a difference

parents - why parents make a difference

Parents are one of the biggest influences on a child’s attitude to alcohol.

You may feel you can’t make a difference, faced with the influence of their friends, the alcohol marketing messages they hear and the Irish ‘drinking’ culture, but children and teens need our protection when it comes to alcohol.

Not all young people will want to try alcohol, but many do. Adults can help to:

  • Delay drinking for as long as possible
  • Protect your child from some of the risks that come with drinking alcohol
  • Support your child to develop a healthy attitude towards alcohol
  • Set a good example in the way you drink and talk about alcohol

Our top 10 tips for parents are a good starting point.


Should I be worried?

You may see drinking and getting drunk as part of growing up or a rite of passage, but alcohol is more dangerous for young people than adults. Read more: What are the risks

The later your child starts drinking the better it is for their health and wellbeing in both the short and long term. 


For under 18s the safest choice is no alcohol


“Parents need to give teens a clear, unambiguous message that they disapprove of underage drinking.” 

Dr Bobby Smyth, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Read more:

Why do teens drink?

Alcohol and the teenage brain.pdf (size 350.7 KB) - An article by Dr Helen McMonagle

Worried? Warning signs and ways to help

What to do if they come home drunk

What are the risks of teenage drinking?

Talking to children about alcohol

Alcohol and young people – what you and your child should know

Brian Wall. Sharing experiences and suggestions around alcohol and substance abuse. A guide for parents. 4th Edition, 2017.
(2013) NYCI. Support manual for dealing with substance use issues in an out of school setting. National Youth Council of Ireland, Dublin

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