This week is a big one for the Leaving Cert class of 2019.
Parents of school leavers receiving Leaving Cert results and college offers this week have been urged to encourage sober curiosity amongst their children and discuss the issue of alcohol misuse.
Thousands of students across the country will receive their Leaving Cert results tomorrow (13 August) and Drinkaware, the national charity working to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse, are appealing to parents to talk to their school-leaving children about alcohol habits as they begin their journey into college life.
Drinkaware say more and more members of Generation Z (people born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s) are becoming sober curious – questioning impulses and expectations to drink alcohol – but also point to research that 64% of under-25s in Ireland claim to use drink as a coping mechanism, making a conversation between parents and school leavers all the more important.
Research from the Drinkaware Index 2019, meanwhile, also shows that 27% of adults were introduced to alcohol by a parent or close relative, while almost one in five adults (18%) were first introduced to alcohol in the home.
“Ahead of the Leaving Cert results celebrations and college offers, it’s important that parents engage with their young people and advocate for sober curiosity or a more mindful attitude to alcohol,” says Sheena Horgan, CEO of Drinkaware.
“We are appealing to parents to discuss post-results plans together with their children and provide them with practical knowledge and advice on how they can celebrate this achievement in a safe environment.
“This is a transitional life stage for thousands of young people across the country and this can bring its own issues. New surroundings, new friends and new expectations – these can all lead to feelings of stress or anxiety. We know from our research that under-25s in Ireland are turning to alcohol a coping mechanism and with many college events all too often associated with drinking, such as Freshers’ Week and Rag Week, young people can feel pressured into increased alcohol use.
“We are increasingly seeing that millennials and Generation Z are becoming ‘sober-curious’ and are thinking now about improving their future health, so the desire to drink less is there but a bit of added encouragement from parents can go a long way.”
Tips and advice for parents to support their children in making informed decisions about alcohol are available on the parent page on the Drinkaware website.