The Alcohol Education Trust - Parent Newsletter

 Summer Term Apr 2016 Ed 19

Well, the kids are back at school – with the summer term being an important and stressful term for many of us, with exams looming for our children.

We’ve had a very busy half term with exciting news that we’ve won a prestigious runners-up GSK Health Impact Award prize from The Kings Fund – just 20 charities were selected out of more than 400, so we are really chuffed at this recognition of our work.

We’ll receive our £3,000 award at The Science Museum on the 12th May, and as a result of this we’ve also been selected for a Comic Relief Cascading Leadership programme to help us build our charity in a sustainable way. Do you know that our Talk About Alcohol programme only costs 75p per child? – so we're certainly cost effective! Do take a look at to find out more about what we do.

Long summer evenings?

Since the clocks have gone forward, the evenings are light and your kids may well want to be out with their mates, playing football, in town or at the park. It’s great to encourage fresh air and exercise but do check from time to time that their plans are genuine and they are with who they say they are with!

It may seem sneaky or that you don’t trust them, but parks and public spaces are, after parties, the most common place for underage kids to drink. You could drive by or say you’ll come and watch or pick them up, tell them to keep their phone on and have a set time for them to be home by. Encourage them to play sport in a club (sports or youth) setting too, if possible.

The way we ask our kids about what they’ve been up to makes a difference

If you’re worried that your child is not being completely straight forward about what they’ve been up to, then The Belfast youth development study has shown that if we monitor our kids carefully at age 11 and upwards, they’re much less likely to drink frequently, but how we keep a check on them makes a real difference. If you say "what have you been doing?" there is no effect – they’re likely to tell you as little as possible, but if you take an approach such as “How was so and so,” this works better and if you use an engaging open question like “Oh, tell me more” it is the most effective approach.

One of the main reasons that kids give for drinking in public places or when they are hanging around with their mates is that they are bored and there is nothing else to do. If you’re working or you can’t think about what to do in the holidays or at weekends to keep your kids occupied as they get older, then take a look at Encouraging them to get a holiday or weekend job can really help. For those under 16 baby sitting, dog walking and helping mates with odd jobs can be an option and help them earn some cash too! There are some wonderful volunteering opportunities, also sports, youth and holiday clubs are a great help. Check at your library, sports centre, via school or Citizens Advice Bureau to see what’s on locally.

Do you mind being challenged if you’re buying alcohol and your children are with you?

A report on the effect of Challenge 25 found that supermarket staff are often threatened and abused when asking for ID. Most Mums and Dads find it quite flattering to be asked for their ID by vigilant checkout staff if buying alcohol, but staff are now trained to spot parents who may be buying alcohol on behalf of their teenagers, or older friends buying for those under age. This is called buying by proxy and it’s on the increase– and it’s important that your kids know that they’re asking friends to commit an offence subject to an on the spot hefty fine.

For parents it’s confusing as it’s not against the law for your child to drink alcohol if over 5, in the home. We’re advised by The Chief Medical Officer however, that an alcohol free childhood is the best option before the age of 15. This is for several reasons – our kids’ livers lack the enzyme which breaks down the toxins in alcohol and their brains are not fully developed. There is increasing evidence that alcohol effects teenage brain development, so it’s not worth the risk. We also know that teenagers who drink weekly before the age of 15 have GCSE predictions that are 20 points lower – that’s the difference between an A* and a C in one subject, so it can affect long term job and college prospects too.

Once 18?

Being repeatedly challenged when over 18 means you need ID with you when going out – which might mean taking a driving licence or a passport, our most precious documents. Why not encourage them to apply for a PASS card? There are currently five national schemes (plus Young Scot) and ten local schemes that are licensed to issue cards bearing the PASS hologram. 5 million cards have been issued and the PASS hologram is widely recognised and accepted in both the on and off trade.

AET resources comprise of and a Teacher Workbook, booklets ‘Alcohol and You’ for 15yrs+ and ‘Talking to Your Kids About Alcohol’ parent and carer guide. 

We also offer teacher CPD workshops and parent information talks.

For further information on any of the above please contact
Helena Conibear, Founder, Director
Sandra Saint, Parent and Schools Coordinator NE
Kathryn Arnott-Gent, Parent and Schools Coordinator NW
Kate Hooper, Schools Coordinator
Helen Dougan, Project Manager

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Gordon Redley BEd (Cantab)
Victoria Mc Donaugh MA (Hons), PGCE
Alison Winsborough BMus, PGCE
Patricia Garven, Cert Ed.
Rod Hoare, MBE

The Alcohol Education Trust, Frampton House, Frampton, Dorset, DT2 9NH

01300 320869

Registered Charity Number 1138775