The Forum wishes you A Happy and Safe New Year

ForumWith the festive season behind us the Castleisland Youth Interagency Forum is reminding parents of the importance being aware of underage drinking associated with the celebrations around New Year’s Eve.

The most important factor in curtailing alcohol related problems in teenagers is positive parenting based on good communication and setting firm limits.

The goods news is that not all teenagers are drinking. Parents, how informed are you ? Are you aware of the facts about alcohol ?

Used in moderation alcohol is a pleasurable, socially acceptable drug. Alcohol is not always consumed sensibly in Irish society and binge drinking is becoming all too common.

The legal age for drinking alcohol is 18 years. The reality, however, is that many teenagers drink regularly before then. This carries risks, and even experimentation on one occasion can cause problems for your child. Teenagers are very vulnerable to the immediate effects of alcohol.

But the good news is that you have more influence over your teenagers than you think. Young people need clear messages from their parents that underage drinking is unacceptable. Parental disapproval of adolescent drinking is associated with lower levels of later alcohol abuse.

The HSE recommends four things you can do to delay teenage drinking: 1. Talk and listen to your teenager – it’s the greatest support you can give them.

2. Have family rules – be clear about what is allowed and what is not.

3. Know where your teenager is, who they are with, if there is adult supervision and if there is alcohol present.

4. If you drink alcohol, be responsible. Remember, what you do will be seen by your teenager and will influence how they think about alcohol.

The most important thing you can do as a parent is to support your teenager to delay drinking. If you do, the risks of harmful drinking are much lower now and in later life.

Castleisland Interagency Youth Forum wishes you and your family a safe, happy and very peaceful 2015.