Help for Parents

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It is tough being a parent, especially when you suspect your child might be drinking alcohol.

It is a difficult subject area to approach with a child. Some parents find it a struggle because alcohol is a legal drug - making it difficult to put into context just how dangerous it is, especially when they drink themselves.


Most young teens are very much ‘now’ oriented and are just beginning to understand that their actions—such as drinking—have consequences. They also tend to believe they are invincible, which is why they often take risks.

Therefore, it is very important for parents or guardians to invest time in helping their child understand how and why alcohol-related risks apply to them.

Here are just a few startling truths:

  • Data released by the NHS reveals that 33 children are admitted to hospital each day in England, with drink related problems. The NHS figures also reveal that 7034 kids under 18 years old received treatment for problems related to drinking alcohol in the first six months of 2011.

  • 1000 young people under the age of 15 are admitted to hospital each year with acute alcohol poisoning. All need emergency treatment and some die.

  • There can be as much alcohol in a 330ml bottle of alco-pop as in a generous shot of whiskey.

  • Young people who drink are more likely than others to be victims of violent crime, including rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.

  • An individual who begins drinking as a young teen is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to use alcohol.

  • Drinking large amounts over long periods of time can result in serious, even fatal illnesses. Since alcohol is toxic, heavy drinking can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, ulcers, cancer, malnutrition and irreversible brain damage.

Whilst these facts can make quite an impact, it can be difficult to communicate the dangers of alcohol to young people when it is estimated that they will see over 75,000 media-related drinking scenes before the age of 18.

Health risks are not the main focus of many of these adverts, TV programmes and films and so the serious threat of alcohol is often overlooked. So, as a parent, what can you do to help? It depends on a number of factors, including the age of your child, your relationship with him or her and their current exposure to peer pressure and alcohol.


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  1. Family - deteriorating relationships with family; behaviour changes, such as withdrawal or hostility
  2. School - truancy; drop in grades; behaviour problems
  3. Social Life - deteriorating relationships with old school friends; developing a new network of friends who are using alcohol or drugs; loss of interest in sports or other favourite activities
  4. Emotional Life - basic personality changes; inexplicable and sudden mood changes; apathy
  5. Physical - memory problems, fatigue or hyper behaviour; difficulty walking; sleep disturbances; red, blood-shot eyes; carelessness with grooming
  6. The Evidence - disappearance of beer or liquor supply; money or valuables missing; use of cigarettes; use of incense; excess money or missing money

Want to know more?

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