The HSE’s has launched a helpful guide for parents filled with information and practical advice on how to talk to teenagers about alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol and Drugs: A Parent’s Guide is available to download from You can also watch videos from the launch here:

· Eamon Keenan, Consultant Psychiatrist – Risks and dangers of alcohol and other drugs on a teen brain

· : Brian Wall, Guidance Counsellor – Conversation key to keeping young people safe from alcohol and other drugs:

This guide has been written by experts specifically for parents, and the main message is to get the conversation started with your son or daughter.

Dr Gerry McCarney, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, notes how important it is for parents to know what their children are facing:

“Alcohol and drugs are more harmful if you do not know what is going on. Getting your child’s point of view is an important part of any conversation about alcohol or drugs. Listen carefully to find out what they know, what’s happening with their friends and how they feel about alcohol and drugs.”

The Parent’s Guide has advice from experts on:

– Getting the conversation about alcohol and drugs started with your teenager – picking the right moment and taking your opportunity to talk.

– Building resilience – showing your child that you have faith in their ability to get through difficult times and supporting them to solve their own problems and to be successful.

– Setting a good example – the way parents drink and their attitudes to alcohol are one of the biggest influences on their child’s attitude to alcohol. Be aware of the messages you are giving about alcohol and drugs (for example: “I need a glass of wine after the day I’ve had.”)

– How to really listen – spend more time trying to understand their world and their feelings before offering your opinions or advice.

– How to be the parent – handling resistance / setting boundaries / being brave. Keeping a close eye on your child and setting rules is the difficult choice, but you are doing the right thing.

This practical guide will help parents to decide what’s OK and what’s not OK for their family, and how to set those boundaries for their children.

For more information visit: