One of the biggest issues parents may face with negative teen behavior is underage drinking. Teens are being exposed to alcohol frequently. Peer pressure, mental health issues, or just plain curiosity can cause them to drink. Many parents have heard horror stories on the news about alcohol poisoning from binge drinking and other tragedies when teens and alcohol mix. So, it’s a legitimate question that parents ask themselves, “Is alcoholism a danger for my teen?”
Here, we review some major problems caused by teen drinking. Then, we outline a brief plan of how you, as a parent, can help. Finally, we invite your questions or comments at the end.
Teen drinking facts
Why do people start drinking? Many teens associate drinking with fun and acting more like adults. However, teens don’t have the maturity to drink responsibly most of the time. The Surgeon General reports some startling statistics, like there are 11 million underage drinkers currently in the country. The fact that it is easy to get and hard to resist makes it a pervasive problem.
Furthermore, studies show that teens who drink regularly are more likely to have drinking problems later in their lives. It’s estimated that as many as 3 million teens are already alcoholics with millions more on the way. All these reasons are why parents need to educate teens on the dangers of teen drinking.
Top 7 Teen Drinking Problems
There are several problems and dangers associated with teen drinking. Here are the top 7:
1. Teen drinkers with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to become alcoholics than those who still have family history but don’t drink in their teen years.
2. Alcohol poisoning may result in sickness or death as a result of binge drinking.
3. Consequences of driving drunk or car accidents involving teen drinkers can result in injury or death for themselves, passengers and other drivers.
4. Teen drinking can lead to brain damage, memory loss and other cognitive issues according to studies.
5. Impaired judgement that increases reckless behavior.
6. Underage drinking increases the risk of sexual assault while drinking, drunk, or passed out.
7. Because teen drinking is illegal, teens can face charges if caught.
It’s no wonder that parents like you are concerned about teen drinking and the possible harm it can have on your child and on teens everywhere.
How to discourage teen drinking
As a parent, you can have a major impact on whether your teen participates in underage drinking. The key is to educate your teen about the dangers, and then establish house rules with consequences. Make sure the rules and consequences are clear and that you both agree to them in a calm discussion. That way, when and if your teen breaks the rule, you both understand what will happen next rather than make a decision when emotions are running high. Finally, be a good example of responsible drinking and don’t participate in behavior you would want your teen to emulate either now or later in life.
Help teens help themselves
Teenagers are eager to learn about the world around them and to spread their wings. They see drinking as a way to be accepted by their peers, to have fun and to act more mature. However, they are not mature enough to handle alcohol and the dangerous consequences. Therefore, parents like you need to be ever vigilant in educating and monitoring your teen’s activity when it comes to alcohol.