You, your child and alcohol
In Northern Ireland more than half of young people aged between 11 and 16 say they have had an alcoholic drink at some point in their lives. This means that as a parent the subject of your child and alcohol is likely to come up at some stage in conversation. Or under other sometimes unwanted circumstances.
A hard-hitting campaign to drive home the serious consequences of underage drinking is under way. It includes television advertisements and a booklet designed to encourage and support parents to talk to their children about alcohol.
The multi-agency campaign has been developed and supported by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Northern Ireland Office, the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the Public Health Agency and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
The centrepiece of the campaign is two new television adverts that highlight some of the possible consequences of underage drinking. The adverts show normal parent/child conversations about what the children have been up to. But, the subtitles tell the real truth and the children’s uncertainty is apparent to the viewer.
You, your child and alcohol 1
You, your child and alcohol 2
Do I have influence on my child?
You may think that you have little or no influence on your child but the truth is parents often underestimate just how much influence they have on their own children. Parents and carers can play a key role in promoting a responsible attitude to alcohol.
Is there a risk to my child if I give them alcohol?
Some parents may feel that giving their child a small amount of alcohol in their early teens will give them a responsible attitude to alcohol, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. In fact, research shows that the earlier a child starts drinking the higher the risk of developing serious alcohol-related problems later in life.
Could my child end up in trouble with the police?
One in ten young people who have taken alcohol have ended up in trouble with the police. They can get involved in anti-social/criminal behaviour, such as fights, damaging property or causing annoyance within a community.
- more information from You, your child and alcohol booklet (PDF 64.6 KB)
- Help with PDF files
- PSNI website
How do I talk to my child about alcohol?
It is easy to talk to your child about alcohol. You can establish boundaries around drinking. Remember, it is best not to wait until your child starts drinking before you talk to them about alcohol.
Can my drinking influence my child?
Children often copy what their parents do and how they act. What you do may influence your child as much as what you say. It may be useful to think about your own relationship with alcohol and what messages it could be sending to your child. Think about your own drinking habits, even if you are not a heavy drinker.
More useful links
- Sensible drinking (health and well-being section)