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Table 3 Quotes for matched parent-child pairs

From: Understanding conversations about alcohol between parents and their 15–17 year olds: a qualitative study


Parent Quotes

Child Quotes

1. Children and parents matching on levels of child drinking


“On two occasions, there has been alcohol there [parties] and some of her friends had brought some alcohol. The last one she went to was New Year and at New Year she said she had some cider.” (Parent (P11, Mother) of YP10, 15-year old female)

“It’s only really been sort of twice when I’ve been at a friend’s party, so like when we were at New Year’s Eve, or just a friend’s birthday party. Yeah, I don’t really know, I just sort of had what was there. It wasn’t that much.” (YP10, 15-year old female)


“The week before when he went [to a party], we bought him a pack of, I think a box of 10, and he literally probably had one or two, even. And they were the small cans as well. He’s never been too fussed about it I don’t think.” (Parent (P47, Father) of YP9, 16-year old male)

“Yes, I’ve had it before but I don’t drink an awful lot.” (YP9, 16-year old male)


“When my ex-husband got married they let her have a glass of champagne, we do the odd thing like that, but generally she doesn’t like it.” (Parent (P41, Mother) of YP2, 17-year old female)

“I have once yes, but that was at a party but I haven’t touched it since…it was disgusting.” (YP2, 17-year old female)


“I think part of her thing is that she knows if she drinks too much she will be sick, she has a thing about vomiting, she has a fear of vomiting.” (Parent (P11, Mother) of YP10, 15-year old female)

“Yeah, I have a phobia of sick…The only thing that I remember is my mum talking about sick. Honestly, that’s all I remember. And saying that if I’m sick in her car she’ll never forgive me.” (YP10, 15-year old female)


“Certainly as far as my own son is concerned no…he’s got his head screwed on right with it. From what he says about some of the people who are at the parties with him, yes he comes back sometimes with ‘it was quite boring because everybody was paralytic and throwing up by 8.30 nine o’clock in the evening and it was dull’.” (Parent (P44, Father) of YP5, 16-year old male)

“Yes, definitely, when it gets to a point I think I should probably stop, I will stop and then I’ll drink something else like lemonade or water, for the rest of the evening or the time I am with my friends.” (YP5, 16-year old male)


“She comes back giggly from parties but she’s never been sick ... at the end of a party and I’ve collected her she’s always been compos mentis, you can always understand what she’s talking, she’s not slurring, she’s just a giggly, happy 17 year old.” (Parent (P46, Father) of YP4, 17-year old female)

“Mostly with friends, sort of, but not stupidly if that makes sense…I think I know it can be dangerous, but if you have it in moderation, and are sensible with it, it’s alright. So I think, I like to think I’ve got a responsible view on it.” (YP4, 17-year old female)


“I know from an early, a fairly earlyish age we let them have a small sip of whatever we’ve been doing. So they’ve tried beer, wine.” (Parent (P44, Father) of YP5, 16-year old male)

“My first proper alcoholic drink must have been a couple of years ago so I was 14…It was a small bottle of beer, when we were on holiday in France. Yes, it wasn’t particularly strong, my parents deliberately chose it.(YP5, 16-year old male)


“So for instance now they’re in teenage age, they go to these parties, my daughter would take four bottles of Smirnoff Ice things.” (Parent (P46, Father) of YP4, 17-year old female)

“Yeah because even when we go to parties, we have to take our own alcohol, so it’s given to me, but it’s an amount that they’d be happy with me drinking…Yeah they’d only send me to a party with, they wouldn’t send me with too much alcohol, usually I have four drinks.” (YP4, 17-year old female)

2. Children and parents matching on conversation starters


“No I think it was him, he asked me to purchase it because they are too young to buy it. So he has asked me to purchase it and I have willingly purchased it, because I would rather I go and buy this particular brand of lager or whatever rather than him trying to sneak off, and I don’t know just drink his friend’s vodka … it’s a small form of control I suppose.” (Parent (P40, Mother) of YP1, 17-year old male)

“I think it probably happened the night after I first had my first drink and then it just carries on after basically every time I go out, just a quick know your limits, beforehand.(YP1, 17-year old male)


“Occasionally he would say like when he went to a party last week, we bought him some alcohol to take, but he didn’t drink much at all.” (Parent (P47, Father) of YP9, 16-year old male)

“Not an awful lot, just if I go to a party they will say don’t drink too much, be sensible, know your limits.” (YP9, 16-year old male)


“The first time we really discussed alcohol as a family we had gone to a family party and one of the relatives was really drunk and doing some very, saying some very silly things to them. And they were quite young at the time but they wanted to know what was going on.” (Parent (P35, Mother) of YP7, 15-year old male)

“One particular conversation was when I was a party and a family member got drunk, and they told us afterwards, basically not to get drunk.” (YP7, 15-year old male)

3. Children and parents matching on topic areas

General points


“Yeah we’re quite an open family ... we don’t talk a lot about it but it comes up round the dinner table conversations, when we’re in the car, walking the dog, it just comes up in general conversations, we don’t actually sit down with them and say ‘right you’ve got to listen to us’. We’re not that type of people, it just comes up in conversation.(Parent (P46, Father) of YP4, 17-year old female)

“Usually we don’t really have sit down conversations and stuff, usually you’re out and about doing stuff or walking the dog.” (YP4, 17-year old female)


“I remember saying to her ‘we will always be here, we are here to catch you if you fall, be very very careful’, because ultimately we are just here to catch you, we can’t cover every single thing, we can’t achieve that, there’s only so much we can do, we have to prepare and keep her views and outlook as balanced as we can but at the same time she’s going to do something because kids do.” (Parent (P11, Mother) of YP10, 15-year old female).

“I think it makes you more aware of alcohol and how to deal with it and I think they can often offer advice and like when they’re there and they’re not keeping anything over you and they’re letting you have your own freedom, but I think it’s important to let them know what goes on so that if you get into any situation they can help you out.” (YP10, 15-year old female)


“Kind of the safety aspects of it, I don’t think you can tell them you should never drink, etc. Because if you ban things they just want to do it more, so it should be how to moderate it, and how to do it safely. It’s no good saying, ‘oh you can’t drink until your 18 so we won’t bother telling you about it’. It’s, well if you do drink this is what can happen it’s the same sort of thing as with drugs if you take drugs this is what can happen. If you are drinking … please try and be safe with your friends and don’t overdo it.” (Parent (P40, Mother) of YP1, 17-year old male)

“I think it probably happened the night after I first had my first drink and then it just carries on after basically every time I go out, just a quick know your limits, beforehand.” (YP1, 17-year old male)


“Certainly with teenage girls spiking drinks and that sort of stuff, they’re aware of that, I think they’re told that. But the influences that being under alcohol, it makes you more happier so therefore you’re more flirty etc., and people could take advantage of that.” (Parent (P46, Father) of YP4, 17-year old female)

“My dad did have a conversation with me the other week, we were on a dog walk, and talked about Uni and stuff, and he said, ‘you be careful about what other people can do to you when you’re drunk and stuff’. So obviously I know to be sensible with it, and people can put stuff in your drinks.” (YP4, 17-year old female)

Specific topic areas


“We make a point about not mixing drinks or getting drunk in front of them or anything like that.” (Parent (P44, Father) of YP5, 16-year old male)

“Oh, talked about mixing alcohol, quite a few conversations about that and drinks that I should not mix because of the effects or if they are too strong.” (YP5, 16-year old male)


“He knows he gets a decent dinner before he’s allowed to go to the party because I always say ‘you need to line your stomach’.” (Parent (P12, Mother) of YP16, 17-year old male)

“Yeah they always said to eat before I go out.” (YP16, 17-year old male)


“I said to her ‘I think it’s quite important that you take a drink that hasn’t been opened’. I warned her about taking drinks where it’s been poured for her and she maybe doesn’t know who might have tampered with the drink and we had that discussion, and we talked about well, go and, see if you can find a drink that hasn’t been opened and then go and ask, see if you can find someone that can point you to where the bottle opener is or whatever.” (Parent (P14, Mother) of YP13, 16-year old female).

“Yes, I keep my phone with me and I always take my drink with me wherever I go so I don’t leave it…Just about making sure that you open your own drink and making sure that you know it’s not been spiked, and not going over your limit.” (YP13, 16-year old female)

4. Differences in children’s and parents’ accounts

Specific conversations not recalled


Not recalled

“I’ve been told that it is better to have a big meal before you drink, and drink water in between.” (YP9, 16-year old male)


“She’d been very aware of the effects on some of her friends and she sort of described some of them, the way they were behaving, how some of her friends were becoming very emotional and tearful and one girl started opening up about her relationship with her father and things like that. So we discussed about the impact of alcohol on making people a bit more disinhibited and that sort of thing.” (Parent (P14, Mother) of YP13, 16-year old female)

Not recalled


“Well it’s not frequent it’s when he goes to a party or have a gathering with his friends which I don’t know, there has been one this year, one last month so I would say on average maybe once a month .” (Parent (P40, Mother) of YP1, 17-year old male)

“I drink when I go out with my friends…I’d say every other week maybe.” (YP1, 17-year old male)

Requests for more information from children


“I suppose, well the long-term effects on your health of drinking too much and also the risks of becoming in a state where you’re not in control and so on. Those are the main concerns, I think that I would have.” (Parent (P42, Father) of YP3, 15-year old male)

“Probably slightly, I could choose to have that [more about alcohol] discussion, yeah…Probably the effects that it has , and maybe …, maybe why people drink …Yes because I suppose lots of people do it for lots of different reasons, so why they drink, why other people drink.” (YP3, 15-year old male)


“I warned her about taking drinks where it’s been poured for her and she maybe doesn’t know who might potentially have tampered with the drink…so we discussed about the impact of alcohol on making people a bit more disinhibited and that sort of thing…I put in place I suppose some safety things like any problems, she phone me straightaway, I can come and get you if …if something happens.” (Parent (P14, Mother) of YP13, 16-year old female)

“I guess [more information on] like the dangers because I’d take it more seriously if my parents told me…Yeah. Like the health effects and also like doing things that you will regret…I guess [more information] like finding your own limit , I am not really, I haven’t found mine yet.” (YP13, 16-year old female)


“I think, because I think he’s quite sensible around alcohol and doesn’t feel that he needs me to talk about the warnings and the dangers of alcohol because he’s not that keen on it.” (Parent (P12, Mother) of YP16, 17-year old male)

“Maybe the likes of the differences between sort of like having some beers and then having sort of like vodka and stuff. Because I think it’s a significant difference sort of … because if you have like a couple of beers it won’t have the same effect if you have sort of a bit of vodka.” (YP16, 17-year old male)


“Yeah, so I don’t have concerns about [daughter] at the moment, although I think, like all of us, we all need to be a bit concerned, because if you drink you’re at risk of falling over, apart from anything else, but whereas, my other daughter, I have much more concerns… So I’m lucky that my, that [daughter] is I would say quite responsible, as a person…Yeah I would say their awareness is much higher than a lot of kids , yeah.” (Parent (P45, Mother) of YP8, 16-year old female)

“Like really bad, I don’t really know all that much…Yes, it’s mainly things like, I think it’s obvious the higher percentage that is going to be more alcohol, than a lower percentage of things. I don’t know what units mean, I don’t know how much a unit is, or, because I know it says that women shouldn’t drink more than three units a day or something, but I don’t actually know how much that is. So things like that, that you should pick up when, as you get older.” (YP8, 16-year old female)