The Leaving and Junior Cert exams are nearly over, and with that, celebrations for young people can mean alcohol is involved.
While young people deserve to celebrate after their exams, parents need to realise they have a big role to play in highlighting alternative opportunities for blowing off steam, rather than it all about centered around alcohol.
Having open conversations around the facts about alcohol before celebrations begin, will help young people if they find themselves in drinking situations.
Have an open discussion about their plans for the night they finish their exams. Ask who they’ll be with and where, and will there be alcohol.
As part of this discussion set some boundaries for this and other nights out around alcohol. Talk about the consequences for breaking the rules. Remember you need to be able to follow through on these.
Young people get enough lectures in school. A lecture from a parent on the use of alcohol could miss some important considerations.
Making this a conversation shows that you care about what they have to say and want to hear their thoughts.
This can be the most important way to talk about alcohol. With information being widely available, it is crucial to give both good and bad for the use of alcohol. Part of being honest is not to exaggerate the bad and minimise the good.
This is sometimes hard for parents to do as the responses from your child may not be something you agree with. Try and look at things from your son or daughter’s point of view.
This doesn’t mean you agree with it, but gives you an opportunity to explore their views.
Make sure they understand the rules, and intend to follow them. Reiterate the consequences.
Make sure to talk to other parents of your son or daughter’s peers and make what you have discussed known.
Work out an alternative night together. Would it be possible to host a party in your home?
Remind them that they can call or text you if they feel unsafe or unwell at any point during the night.