WIGAN parents are being warned to be on the look out for their teenagers starting to experiment with alcohol.
Relate, the counselling service, says most youngster start drink by their mid-teens.
And they warn that with the festive party season almost upon us, the chances of teen’s being offered a tipple drastically increase.
Parts of Wigan have a troubled history with alcohol, with the borough having one of the highest hospital admissions for the alcohol-related injuries.
To coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week, which takes place from 16th-22nd November, family and relationship experts, Relate GMS, have released top tips on talking to teenagers about underage drinking.
Overall the picture is looking more promising than it once was. The number of UK young adults who have binged on alcohol has fallen by more than a third from 29 per cent in 2005 to 18 per cent in 2013.
However, Relate GMS, who work closely with families and offer advice on parenting, still hear from many parents who are worried about their teenager’s drinking.
Relate counsellor, Polly Sangar at Relate GMS said: “Underage drinking can have a huge impact on teenager’s lives.
“Not only are young people who drink regularly at risk of liver damage but alcohol can also affect their mental health, sexual behaviour and achievement in the classroom.
“Lots of parents have concerns about their teenagers and alcohol but find it difficult to communicate effectively, which can put the relationship under strain.
“The truth is it’s never too early or too late to have an open conversation about drinking and to lay down some ground rules.
“If like so many parents, you’re unsure where to begin, a Relate counsellor can lend a helping hand.”
Relate GMS offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of your relationships, including family counselling which can include support for families and parenting.
Call Relate on 0300 0032331 or visit www.relate.org.uk/greater-manchester-south for more information.
Relate also offers a free Live Chat service for parents of teenagers.