You probably know of a teenager that needs assistance to address his or her alcohol use. While government research shows a decrease in teenage drinking in recent years, the statistics still provide reasons to be concerned about teens that drink. Researchers recommend that a plan be in place to help your teen to avoid alcohol before drinking becomes a problem. Many researchers agree that underage drinking is likely to cause problems that will stay with the teen for many years to come, if not their entire life.
Reasons for Teen Drinking
Parents can help teens by looking at the reasons for their drinking. This helps loved ones know how to better address their drinking. Teens drink for many different reasons. The Research Institute on Addictions explains some of these reasons. While this list is not conclusive, it covers the most common reasons for teenage drinking. For example, some teens drink because of a misperception that their peers are also drinking when only about fifty percent of them are drinking. Others drink to escape their problems or simply for the sake of curiosity. Still others may drink because they think they will feel “grown-up.” Finally, teens feel pressured by peers to drink.
Consequences of Teen Drinking
Once parents and loved ones of drinking teens understand why teens drink, they will be able to help them stop drinking. This important step of the process will help teens since research shows that numerous risks and consequences are associated with teen drinking. One researcher summarizes the consequences in this way:
- Impaired judgment
- Increased risk of assault
- Impact on brain development
- Injury and even
In addition to these risks, the Mayo Clinic reports increased sexual activity, school problems, alcoholism and violent crime. Teens generally don’t think about these consequences, but both they and their loved ones might end up dealing with the negative effects.
Communicating with Your Teen
Parents can effectively help a teen who is drinking by communicating with him or her. Evidence-based research supports this almost unanimously as outlined in “California Youth and Alcohol Use: Strategies for Parents and Schools to Take Action” by the Health and Education Communication Consultants. They urge parents to develop “positive parent-child relationships” by “increasing youth self esteem, strengthening youth resistance to negative peer pressure and compelling teens to meet parental expectations.”
Reducing the Risk of Teen Drinking
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic recommends that parents do the following:
- Work on building a strong bond with your teens
- Know where your teen is and know what he or she is doing
- Implement boundaries and consequences
- Model moderation when drinking and
- Encourage healthy friendships.
While parents cannot easily fix underage drinking, they can take proactive measures in order to combat this serious problem, thus helping to keep their teens safe.