Inevitable Or Preventable? Alcohol Abuse In TeensStrategies and advice on how to reduce the chances of an adolescent abusing alcohol
Although some say that it is inevitable that a teenager will at some stage experiment with alcohol, there are steps parents can take to prevent their child or children from drinking.
Parents And Setting An Example
A stable home environment is a strong deterrent that can keep your teen from succumbing to peer pressure and experimenting with alcohol. As a matter of fact, most psychologists and experts suggest that parents should openly talk about the negative effects of alcohol with their children early on; also, you should discuss their expectations about drug and alcohol use.
A surprising number of children resort to drinking just because a family member, friend or public personality they idolize enjoys his/her drink. Also, because most children have a strong tendency to emulate their parents, regular drinking on the part of a parent can set a very bad example.
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Instances of alcohol abuse in teens are usually on the rise between 3 pm and 6 pm; right after school before the parents get home from work. Because children tend to have free rein in this period, a lot of children invite their friends and acquaintances over and this is the time when a child may be talked into having his first tryst with alcohol.
One of the best solutions to avoid alcohol abuse in teens is to ensure that your child is kept occupied even after school and the simplest and most effective way to do so is by encouraging him/her to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Parents, Teens And School
Parents should discuss stress management techniques and strategies with their child and talk to them about any issues that they may be facing with their school mates. A national study into alcohol abuse in teens found that children who are socially accepted in school and feel that their teacher's treat them fairly are less likely to consume alcohol.
Ensuring that you communicate with your child and take an active interest in his scholastic life and performance will help you to make sure that your child stays away from enticements that may lead to alcohol abuse in the future.
Children Learn From Their Parents Behavior
It is also imperative to watch your behavior and attitude towards the acceptance of drinking as a parent since this can impact an adolescent's decision to initiate and continue drinking.
Consistent parental discipline that is not too harsh helps to keep kids away from alcohol.
Unfortunately, 65% of teenagers with alcohol abuse problems mentioned that they get alcohol from their friends or family. This coupled with the fact that an average 18 year old is bombarded with over 100,000 television commercials that encourage or advocate drinking in some way can have significant ramification on a teenager's perception towards alcohol consumption.
Research into teenage alcohol abuse problem suggests that children whose parents spend time interacting with them in a positive way and teens who feel close to their parents are less likely to drink.
Don't Beat Yourself Up
Despite all the above, the fact remains that alcohol abuse in teens IS prevalent because teens are teens. Most teens are going to abuse alcohol and then grow out of it.
However, a minority will go on to develop alcoholism, You are never going to stop teens abusing alcohol if they want to. However, it is your responsibility to try and catch the issue in its infancy and help your child to seek help for his/her teenage alcohol abuse problems.
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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)