The Alcohol Education Trust - Parent Newsletter

Autumn Term, December 2016, Ed 22

Here at AET towers, we’re very relieved that wet dark November is nearly over and the count down to Christmas has begun! We mark the end of our year with our AGM in November and we’re pleased to say we’ve supported more parents and carers than ever this year, sharing over 69,000 of our information guides ‘Talking to Kids About Alcohol’ with you, holding 47 talks for parents and carers across the country, and welcoming many tens of thousands of you to the parent/ carer area of – there’s lots of engaging stuff to share with your teenagers on too. Do take time to have a go at the quizzes and games.

The days couldn’t be much shorter and we’re all beginning to plan for Christmas! It’s a time for family gatherings and parties, panic about Christmas presents and everything being ready on time! Family parties are a time to watch out - where you leave the Baileys or sherry if you’ve got a mix of ages coming over to share a few drinks! It’s always a good idea to have an adult supervising the drinks, or have them in view rather than tucked away in the kitchen out of sight, or it could be a bit too tempting for your teen to sneak a beer or two or a bottle of something while you are busy looking after your guests.

Remember too, to provide lots of interesting soft and lower alcohol drinks and some non-salty things to eat …  we’ve got some ideas for parties on our website via or in our information guide which you can download here.

Going to parties - Out of sight out of mind?

Set the ground rules as carefully as you can to ensure your child stays safe at other people’s parties…

  • Speak to the host parents, even if you don’t know them. Tell your child you’re not prepared to let them go otherwise. Check an adult will be present and their policy on alcohol.
  • If you can, drop your teenager off and pick them up, or share lifts with parents you trust.
  • If sleeping over after a party at another friend’s house, check plans are genuine and again speak to the parents. Ask your child to ring or text you when they’re safely at their friend's house.
  • Make sure your teenager has had a good meal before they go out.
  • Check they have a fully charged mobile that they must keep on, and that you have planned how and what time they are getting home.
  • Be prepared to say no if you’re unhappy about a party or if your child doesn’t want you to speak to the host.. there’ll be rows, but it’s because you care, not because you are being a killjoy.
  • Don’t feel pressured by younger teens to provide them with alcohol to take with them to parties... or threaten you that they’ll ask their mates to buy it for them instead (explain they risk their friend being fined or charged).
  • If your teen breaks your agreement, such as what time to be home, then make sure you carry through your threats, such as grounding them.

Holding a house party

  • Think carefully before you say yes. Especially if the kids are under 15.
  • Agree the list of invites with your teenager.
  • Warn your teen to be careful about how they invite their friends – no open invitations on face book or chat on twitter.
  • Agree the house rules and put your teen in charge.
  • You might have to stay out of sight for your kid's street cred., but stick around.
  • Provide plenty of food – not salty snacks, but carbs.
  • Teenagers do sneak in alcohol in water bottles, mixed with soft drinks etc., so be prepared and work out how you’ll handle this.
  • Have loads of soft drinks and iced water available.
  • If anyone is sick or ill, contact their parents and never leave them unattended.
  • Try and avoid big sleepovers, as the kids won’t get much sleep (or you probably) and you won’t know what’s going on once you’re in bed!
  • Finally, make sure you’ve warned your neighbours and have a reasonable finish time, allowing parents to pick up and get to bed too!
  • If it goes well, don’t forget to tell your teen how proud you are of them and their mates.

Watch those dark nights

Do you have the worry of your teenager learning to drive, or having just passed their test? If the dark nights and black ice aren't enough to worry about, lifts to and from parties with friends driving, if they're not driving themselves, are such a worry. You can download a fact sheet to discuss with them here. But where possible, do arrange for them to get home by taxi or public transport, or collect them yourselves if you can.

It's also important to remember if anyone's been drinking the night before and they are planning to drive the next morning, that it takes an hour for your body to break down each unit of alcohol (that's half a pint of beer, one shot or roughly half a small glass of wine) - So if they stopped drinking at midnight and plan to drive the next morning, they could easily be over the limit. There's a fun ‘clock’ you can suggest they have a go on at

Want a parent talk to be held in your school, youth club, community centre or club?

One of three pillars of our work here at the AET, together with training teachers and providing engaging evidence based, fun activities to keep kids safe around alcohol – is to empower parents and carers in feeling confident talking to their kids about alcohol. Why not try and organise a session for next year? The sessions are non-preachy and engaging, giving you hints and tips on how to avoid conflict with your kids, keep the dialogue open and avoid some of the common pitfalls around teenage experimentation and risk taking with alcohol. Email kate@ if so!  

YouTube has taken “centre stage in children’s lives”

Children in the UK are spending more time on the internet than in front of the TV for the first time, according to new research into the media habits of under-16s.  Research firm Childwise found that on average five- to-15-year-olds were spending three hours a day using the internet, compared to 2.1 hours watching TV. The research, which is based on an online survey of more than 2,000 children, did not distinguish between TV-like services on the internet, such as Netflix and iPlayer, and other forms of browsing such as Facebook, meaning it is unclear whether children are merely watching shows in different ways. 

The amount of time children spend in front of a television screen has been declining steadily from a high of three hours in 2000/2001 and was at 2.3 hours in 2014. However, time online has seen a huge surge according to the research, up 50% from two hours last year.  That compares to time spent reading books for pleasure, which has declined from an hour a day on average in 2012 to just over half an hour on average in 2015.  However, the report says that YouTube has taken “centre stage in children’s lives” with half accessing it every day and almost all using it at least occasionally.  The majority of children who use YouTube visit the site to access music videos (58%), while around half watch “funny content” and a third say they watch gaming content, Vlogs, TV programmes or  “how to” videos. 

The study also found that more children now live in households with a tablet than any other web connected device such as a laptop, with four in five saying there is a tablet at home, and more than  two-thirds say they have their own tablet. Three quarters of children say they have access to the internet in their bedroom, up from under two-thirds in 2014.

Advice for parents on online content and how to manage it is available from the following:

Advice for parents on online content and how to manage it is available from the following: (what’s good/ safe to see and do) (for parents)


Thank you to those who got involved in Alcohol Awareness week during 14th – 20th November. We still have a book club book swap to come and an office cake bake, but we’re deeply grateful to those who arranged ‘curry on fundraising’ evenings, coffee mornings and fundraisers on our behalf. We want to keep our work free to schools and can only do this with such support! We had some wonderful media support this year too as well as loads of engagement via social media and online.

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) LPSH, Chair of Trustees
Christina Benjamin BSc (Hons) PGCE
Patricia Garven Cert Ed.
Kate Larard MSc, HV, RM, SRN
Victoria Mc Donaugh MA (Hons) PGCE
Keith Newton ACA
Alison Winsborough BMus, PGCE

The Alcohol Education Trust, Frampton House, Frampton, Dorset, DT2 9NH
01300 320869
Registered Charity Number 1138775