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JULY 19 , 2012 by Smile Design

Children as young as 10 say their parents are who they would turn to first for advice about alcohol, and the most common source of alcohol itself, according to new research published by alcohol education charity Drinkaware. Unique research,

which polled parents (who were social grades ABC1) of 10-17 year olds and their children, highlights that 72 per cent of the 10-17 year olds questioned say their parents are the first people they would approach with questions about alcohol, while half (50 per cent) of those who have had a drink report it was their parents who supplied them with the alcohol the last time they drank*.

The publication of these findings coincides with the launch of Drinkaware’s new ‘Mumtank’ – a team of mums with expertise ranging from health and child psychology, to education and parenting. The Mumtank will provide parents with practical advice on how to tackle the thorny issues around kids and alcohol. Members include Mumsnet co-founder Carrie Longton, TV’s Dr Sarah Jarvis and Superintendent Julie Whitmarsh from Devon & Cornwall Police.

The research also shows that while 83 per cent of parents agree it is important to talk to their kids about alcohol, a third (32 per cent) admit that there are many things they do not know about the effects of alcohol on children. Many parents allow their children to drink from an early age – with data showing that in those families where the child had drunk alcohol, the average age at which parents first

allowed their child to have a drink was 13.8 years old. Of the 10-17 year olds polled who had drunk an alcoholic drink, the majority (55 per cent) had been

with their parents the last time they drank alcohol. Additional findings from the research include:

  • 43 per cent of parents worry that their child’s friends have a greater influence on their child’s drinking behaviour than they do.
  • More than two thirds (67 per cent) of 10-17 year olds say they have never felt encouraged to drink alcohol.

Based on the outcomes of this new research, and drawing on their collective expertise and experience, this summer the Mumtank will produce a practical and thought-provoking set of resources for parents, which will seek to involve them in the debate and offer advice and guidance on children and alcohol.

This resource will form the centrepiece of Drinkaware’s parenting campaign this year, which offers advice and tips to parents on how and when to talk to their children about alcohol, in an age appropriate way, between the ages of 8 -17. Further advice can be found at drinkaware. co.uk/parents

Chris Sorek, Chief Executive of Drinkaware, said: “These findings will help to reassure parents that their children are more likely to go to them for advice about alcohol than their peers. So it’s really important that they have the right advice, information and support to talk to their kids. Evidence shows that the earlier children start drinking, the more likely they are to drink more and more frequently as they grow up. DT

* When asked about the last time they were drinking, 50 per cent of 10-17 year olds who have had a drink say their parents gave them the alcohol.

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