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ADEPIS seminar - AET - Talking to kids about alcohol


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This is the presentation given by Helena Conibear from the Alcohol Education Trust at the ADEPIS seminar on Engaging parents in alcohol and drug education. This presentation stresses the importance of engaging parents in a conversation about alcohol.

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ADEPIS seminar - AET - Talking to kids about alcohol

  1. 1. Talking to kids about alcohol Talking to kids about drinking,giving them the tools and liefeskills to make responsible choices and tactics to manage difficult situations is what this programme is about. The Alcohol Education Trust is a charity dedicated to working schools and parents across the UK Facebook /talkaboutalcohol Twitter #talkalcohol
  2. 2. Who are the Alcohol Education Trust? • The Alcohol Education Trust has a very specific remit – the provision of alcohol education in different ways, to pupils age 11 - 18 and their parents, and to provide evidence based evaluated resources and lesson plans for teachers. • The Alcohol Education Trust Trustees are all career teachers and specialists in PSHE, and include a recently retired Head Teacher, an SEN specialist, a Head of Department from a large greater London secondary school and a teacher from one of the largest rural secondary schools in the UK (2,400 children).
  3. 3. Key elements to the programme Early intervention – Year 8 and 9 is ‘the tipping point’ when alcohol education is key, before consumption begins with ‘top up’s thereafter. Social norms based – why do you think most 11- 15 year olds don’t drink? We ensure teachers are secure in their knowledge, can address misunderstanding and do not focus on extremes of behaviour. Not too long or prescriptive – each session is stand alone and can be expanded/reduced as required with familiarisation sessions offered. A regional network of coordinators offering advice and training. We ensure schools involve parents – they are key as role models, setters of boundaries and the main suppliers of alcohol to U18’s. Talkaboutalcohol sessions for parents are offered to schools.
  4. 4. Fully evaluated and evidence based • The AET talkaboutalcohol programme has been evaluated among 4000 pupils in 34 schools across England over 2 years (2011 - 2013). Pupils in schools which used 4 lessons in Year 8 and 2 top up lessons in Year 9 were significantly less likely to take up drinking than those in the comparison schools. (20% of pupils took up drinking versus only 8% in school using the AET resources). • The Department for Education appointed CAYT has awarded our programme 3 out 3 for effectiveness and 5/6 for quality of evaluation - top marks! • We are a PSHE Association Quality Assured programme and one of the top 50 most effective early intervention programmes according to The Early Intervention Foundation.
  5. 5. Why are parents important to a schools alcohol programme? • Parents are the key source of supply to underage drinkers (60 = 70% depending on the research) • A permissive parenting approach makes drinking outside of the home more likely at a younger age • Children are most likely to follow a mothers example around drinking • Parental monitoring is key to preventing risk taking
  6. 6. ‘They don’t listen to us, it’s what their friends are doing that matters’ ‘I’m far more worried about the friends she’s hanging out with and her sleeping around’ ‘It’s aspirational isn’t it? Our kids see soaps featuring booze and celebrities getting drunk and see it as cool and normal’ ‘It’s a right of passage - part of growing up - we did it’ ‘What can we do? We can’t monitor what he’s doing when he’s out with his friends’ Common parental attitudes Our children will encounter alcohol what ever we do or say if we give them alcohol at least we know what they’re drinking
  7. 7. Key messages to communicate to a general parent population • The example and role model they set • Setting house rules and sticking to them • Maintaining respect - both ways • Keeping open dialogue and trust • Knowing where they are, who they’re with and when they’re coming home
  8. 8. At what age should they talk about drinking? Very young children Children as young as 7 know the difference between drinking and being drunk Age 11- 13 The average age of a first whole alcoholic drink in the UK is thirteen and a half,so it’s important to get talking
  9. 9. Why is 13 too young? First whole drinks are usually in a family setting, The CMO tells us parents should wait until at least age 15 why? The more relaxed parents are about alcohol, the more likely the child is to drink outside of the home. Age 14 is average The same amount of alcohol has a much greater effect on the body and organs of a child or young person than on an adult, because their bodies are still growing and developing. Long term impact on life chances for those who drink regularly before the age of 15 •Truancy •School results (a 20 point drop in GCSE predicted grades) •Other substance use (increased risk of smoking and cannabis use) and other risky behaviours •Accidents, violence and sexual assault
  10. 10. Why the focus on 15? Research shows that teenagers experiment with alcohol and often with friends. 40% 15 year olds have been drunk at least twice with 26% drinking weekly (HBSC 2012) Parents see it as a realisable objective Legal to drink with a meal when 16,17 with an adult in pubs and restaurants
  11. 11. Practical ways of delaying teenage drinking advice for parents • Encourage sports, hobbies, clubs, social activities that keep kids active and fulfilled. Kids cite boredom and hanging around with nothing to do as one reason for drinking • Make sure they know the facts and laws about alcohol and can talk in a balanced and constructive way about the pros and cons of drinking • Talk and listen to their teenager. • Talk through and agree ground rules and have consequences for breaking them • If teenagers are going to a party, drop them off and pick them up, or book a taxi. Be wary of sleepovers • Check where they are going and who they are with • Be careful where alcohol is left in the house • Supervise parties at home and always serve food. • Understand the pressure they’re facing from their peers and wanting to fit in.
  12. 12. Parent Types Tough Love Laissez Strict Faire Friends "Tell me more?" Monitoring from age 11 rather than "Where have you been?/ What have you been up to?"
  13. 13. Giving parents the confidence to get talking 70% of children ages 8 to 17 say th eir parents are the No.1 influence on whether they drink alcohol (GFK Roper report 2012) BUT parents weren’t seen by most teenagers as good role models, or set ground rules that they stuck to Only 21% said their parents were good role models (YMCA study) 55% of young people say that their school provides clear rules but only 27% say they have to abide by clear rules and consequences in their family, or that their parents keep track of where they are. Parents need to talk about drinking and its effects in a balanced way early enough before children come across alcohol outside of the home. Age 13 is “tipping point” when kids look more towards their friends and peers
  14. 14. Making parents aware that it’s not the norm for teenagers to go out and get drunk • Most teenagers do not go out to get drunk: In fact, 57% of British 11-15 year olds haven’t even tried alcohol. • Underage drinking has halved in 10 years to 10% drinking weekly - so 90% don’t drink regularly and 72% think it’s unacceptable to drink weekly. However 40% of 15 year olds have experienced being drunk at least twice. • Among 16-24 year olds, 22% of men and 17% of women drink more than twice the guidelines. 6% drink three times the guidelines. So an overwhelming majority (78% of young men and 83% young women) go out to enjoy themselves and socialise and not to get drunk.
  15. 15. Tough love approach means being understanding if things go wrong Don’t send them underground Talking openly with kids is really important. Secret drinking with friends away from home does happen. Friends houses and public places like parks are the most common ‘If your child has been drinking, or got drunk, don’t be angry. Sit down and talk it through, find out why it happened. Explain to them what can happen to teenagers that get drunk. It can often have been a scary experience. If they don’t show remorse or regret work out your strategy’
  16. 16. Communicating to parents What happens to teenagers who get drunk? If a teenager drinks regularly before they are 15 they are: • 7 times more likely to be in a car crash because of drinking, and • 11 times more likely to suffer unintentional injuries after drinking. Teenagers who get drunk are far more likely to: • Injure themselves or someone else – even accidentally • Engage in unsafe sex, (risking STIs and unplanned pregnancies) • Be robbed – especially of cash, ipods and mobile phones • Achieve significantly lower GSCE grades • Get into a fight, an argument or relationship problems • Get into trouble with the police and end up with a criminal record
  17. 17. Problems with engaging parents in a school environment it is very difficult to attract those who need advice and support most. It tends to be engaged parents who come into school and attend events Teachers are loathe to come into school out of hours for evening events so talks are often cancelled or attendance low 88% of adults drink in the UK, parents are worried they will be criticised for their attitudes or pattern of drinking
  18. 18. Tips for engaging parents via schools Partner with existing events in school such as transition or meet the tutor evenings, GSCE option evenings, induction or parent evenings Partner with other providers especially esafety and legal highs where parents have high levels of concern Think of childcare, offer food and drink Have an informal presence at school fairs or via PTA’s or Governor events Have a gentle informal approach with both schools and parents and use staff who are parents themselves
  19. 19. Alternative parent approaches Schools Newsletter and database development Use of parent mail and school internal VLE’s Well promoted website with local links Project or homework that involves parents Pilot use of mobile technology in Halton LAAA Outside of school On line communities:Email, twitter, blog and facebook Companies who are large parent employers (Pilot Sainsbury) Other youth settings such as youth clubs, cadets, scouts and sports clubs
  20. 20. • Sign up to our parents newsletter! Visit or email • Visit our websites for tips, film clips, quizzes and lots of advice via • Find us on facebook and recommend us to other parents and friends! Facebook /talkaboutalcohol Twitter #talkalcohol