The body has created a new area on its website – drinkaware.co.uk/parents – to encourage parents to talk to their nine to 12-year-old children about alcohol, furnish them with the facts about drinks and give them practical, age-appropriate advice.
Mumsnet will also play a role in promoting the campaign through its online forums.
Drinkaware cited research that said just 17% of parents have thought about what they would tell their children about alcohol, while 80% said they would “deal with it when it happens”.
Chief executive Chris Sorek said: “While it might be tempting for parents to delay speaking to their children about alcohol until they are older and more mature, we know opening a dialogue in their pre-teen years is crucial to delaying the age of first drink. We recommend parents start the conversation with their children when they are most receptive and before the teen years, when increased peer pressure kicks in.
“Parents may not think their children would want to talk to them about alcohol, but they do. Time and again research shows children see their parents as role models and trusted sources of advice. This is why Drinkaware has created a free resource for parents, to give them the facts and age-appropriate advice to speak confidently to their children about alcohol and help delay the age of their first drink.”
Parenting expert Eileen Hayes added: “As parents, we might often worry we’ll say the wrong thing, or that it’s too soon to raise the subject of alcohol. Equally, we might think we’ve already missed the boat in talking to our child about drinking, or that nothing we say will make a difference anyway.
“But research shows that it’s by no means inevitable that children will drink at a young age or to excess, and in fact, the worst thing parents can say to their kids about alcohol is nothing at all.
“With this campaign, Drinkaware is providing support and advice to parents to help them tackle a difficult, but incredibly important issue which can make a real difference to a young person’s future relationship with alcohol.”