Parents urged to re-think drinking habits

13 May 2011

Parents need to consider how their attitudes towards alcohol are influencing their children’s drinking behaviour, according to Swanswell.

The call from Swanswell - a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use - comes as new research by Drinkaware has found that three quarters of 15 to 17-year-olds don’t like being drunk.

But what is particularly concerning are the findings that nearly two thirds of those who had drunk at home in the last week said that they had been given alcohol by their family – with two fifths admitting their family had provided them with alcohol for house parties and birthday parties in the last seven days.

Debbie Bannigan, Chief Executive of Swanswell, said: ‘The results of this survey haven’t come as a surprise to us but highlight how young people are influenced by the behaviour of other family members.

Their research takes particular note that almost half of young people surveyed would go to their parents first for advice about the effects of drinking.

Therefore it’s vital that parents lead by example and think about how their own actions are perceived by their children.

‘For example, how often they are drinking alcohol, how accessible alcohol is in the home, and whether they have informed and open conversations with their children about the affect of alcohol misuse.

Peer pressure was another reason given by 15 to 17-year-olds according to the Drinkaware research, with around a third saying they’d had alcohol in the last week to fit in with their friends.

It backs up Swanswell’s own findings from a recent project called ‘Looking back’, which asked 115 adults receiving treatment when they first began having problems with alcohol – 46% said it started under the age of 18 with pressure from friends being the main reason why they drank alcohol.

Debbie Bannigan added: ‘We know that the issue around alcohol misuse is much wider than what’s being highlighted here and ultimately there needs to be clearer thinking from the government and a more joined up approach about the best way to tackle it.

We hear a lot about alcohol pricing being used as a way to curb excessive drinking– but there’s much more to it. How it’s promoted, where it is placed and the product itself are other key aspects that should be considered.’

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