This instalment of St Helens Council’s public heath team’s ‘Real Lives Initiative’ shares the story of Yvonne*, who tells us about what happened when her teen drank alcohol at a house party.
She said: “We really care about our daughters Michelle*, 16, and Evie*, 12, who are both beautiful and clever girls.
“We try to be good parents and work hard to make our home safe and happy. Evie looks up to her big sister and copies everything she does.
“Last year Michelle worked really hard to pass her GCSEs and we were all thrilled with the results. We were really pleased that she was making something of her life.
“Of course her friends all wanted to celebrate, and Michelle told us that her friend (who we know well) was having a house party and that there would be alcohol at the party.
“I can’t say that I was pleased, especially when she asked us to buy her some alcohol to take with her to the party, but I was told there would be parental supervision and that all of her friends were going.
“I thought that it would be safer than drinking on the streets and I didn’t want her to be the odd one out. At least she was being open with us.
“In the end I bought her three alcopops and gave her lots of warnings and advice.
“At about 10.30pm, that’s when I got the phone call. What I hadn’t banked on was that there would be others bringing lots of alcohol to the party and ‘smuggling drinks’ in.
“Despite thinking she was all grown up, Michelle was mixing her drinks and getting completely drunk to the point that someone called an ambulance and she ended up in A&E.
“She was alright, thank goodness, but it was such an upsetting and embarrassing experience. “We even got a call from a worker at the young people’s alcohol team to check that everything was ok. I couldn’t apologise enough.
“When I think of what might have happened, and the state she was in, it makes my blood run cold.
“My advice to any parent in the same situation would be to be assertive and don’t get caught up in the ‘peer pressure trap’ yourself.
“You can’t be with them all the time but you can set an example yourself, answer their questions about alcohol honestly and make sure they know that they have choices and have thought through how to handle any situations that are likely to arise, in advance.
“Make sure they are aware of the dangers to their health and give them advice about how to stay safe. I would never have forgiven myself if there had been lasting damage.”
For information, advice, guidance and top tips about alcohol and teenagers, visit https://www.drinkaware.co.uk.
If you are concerned about a young person drinking alcohol and would like further information and advice, you can also contact St Helens Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team on 01744 675605.
* Names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved.