Communion season is almost here and it will see many families celebrate with alcohol. However, parents need to be aware that drinking too much in front of their children can have long-term consequences, writes Áilín Quinlan.
When we think of Communion season, we think of happy little girls in frilly white dresses and boys in their Sunday best - we don’t associate this religious celebration with sozzled parents.
But children’s entertainer, *Jessie, does. The alcohol consumption by parents and relatives at big family celebrations like these can be so extreme, says the popular performer, that at times she’s become stressed and even fearful.
“You’re battling drunk parents, the noise level and children on sugar highs; you’re there trying to perform in the corner. There would be a lot of drink at First Communions,” she says.
“Some get messy because the adults get so drunk and people can get aggressive. Most communions don’t happen at the home now, they take place in the pub or at a hotel.
I went to one last year that was held in the pub. All the adults were drunk and I just got the head down and got through it.
Though most adults consume alcohol sensibly at family gatherings, the way parents drink in front of children can give out subtle, but very important messages about alcohol and its consumption. It's a message which can have long-term effects on the way children view it, warns Austin Prior, an addiction counsellor at Dublin’s Rutland Centre.
“A strong message is that in good times you celebrate with alcohol and in bad times you console yourself with it; that if you’re stressed you have a drink," he says, warning that children are affected by these “subtle, subliminal messages.”
On top of that, Prior says, tippling can result in unreliability on behalf of parents.
Source: Áilín Quinlan, The Irish Examiner, 12/04/19