Children's voices are at the heart of our work.

We base our work around what children and young people have told us - children's voices are at the core of resources such as our 'Ask me about me' DVD, our Family Life project and the numerous practice tools we have compiled.

In addition, we have three additional sets of children's voices describing issues related to drugs and alcohol.

They include:

 

Childrens's voices: Experiences and perceptions of European children on drug and alcohol issues

This publication by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction gives meaning and insight into some of the key drug and alcohol issues that affect children. Its goal is to give the children a voice, accompanied by key statistics on key issues.

Read Children's voices: Experiences and perceptions of European children and drug and alcohol issues.

 

Young people's views on drug education and support

In January 2010 the Children’s Participation Consultancy undertook a consultation session to learn children and young people’s views on how schools should approach sessions on drug education, as well as ways in which they might ensure that their teaching methods do not alienate or cause further distress to children whose parents misuse substances.

The report gathered the five young people, aged 10-15, all of whom had accessed the STARS project following parental substance misuse.

Young people were consulted on the following subjects:

  • Why should adults listen to young people?
  • Their experiences of disclosing their concerns at school – good and bad
  • What were their main messages for Governmental drug guidance to schools?
  • How should teachers approach this in a class setting?
  • How should teachers approach this in a 1:1 setting?
  • How should the government guidance refer to substance misuse in its guidance?
  • What support needs do children have in school?

Please read Young People's views on approaches to drug education pupil support.

 

Our interviews with young people 

The following quotes are from interviews we carried out with children and young people aged 8-19 years old who have one or both parents who misuse drugs or alcohol. These interviews were conducted in 2009 but the experiences apply to children today.

'It felt really good when I could talk to people because I felt like a bottle ready to explode and I didn’t want that to happen.'

  - age 12

'I didn’t realise there were other kids like me – I thought I was all alone.'

  - age 12

'I thought my mum was thinking more about the drugs than about me.'

  - age 12

'I get people in my face, saying "I understand". I say "you don’t because never been there."'

  - age 12

'He’d undo everything I’d just done - I’d clean in one room, and then he’d go in and make a mess whilst I was cleaning another room. I was repeatedly going over myself. I couldn’t leave the house all day and I felt shattered because I was running about after Dad.'

  - age 16

'If I hadn’t had my Nan and Grandad I can’t say where I’d be now. They’ve been my world. I’ve spent a lot of time with them.'

  - age 19

'I just wanted for someone to tell me that my Mum and Dad loved me, and to tell me that it wasn’t my fault. I thought it was all my fault.'

  - age 19

'Sometimes I get tinsy bits of headaches because its really confusing, because I’m thinking about something I have to work on for maths, and then thinking about Mum at the same time, so its like my brain is broken inside because its all blurry, and confusing thinking of two things at the same time.'

  - age 10

'They can’t think your point doesn’t matter because you’re only 6, 7 or 8 and you’re younger than them.'

  - age 19

'I went from being a child to an adult overnight, so when I was in the classroom I couldn’t accept people telling me what to do because I was an adult in myself, so that would make me kick off when I was spoke down to.'

  - age 16

'The slightest thing someone said, I got really annoyed and attacked them or something and then I regretted it when I got home because I know its not their fault, I’m just going through a stressful time.'

  - age 12

'Schools really good because it’s like my place to get away. All my friends cheered me up.'

  - age 12

'I knew I meant something to Tina (my project worker). I wasn’t just a girl she was going to see, when you know they’ve just come to talk to you and they’ll forget about you. It was obvious she was taking an interest in who I was as a person.'

  - age 19