Are there early warning signs of a potential alcohol problem with a teenage user of alcohol?
A friend of my 15 year old son is allowed to drink at home, every weekend, or night of the week etc. as long as he is at home. The boy's mother passed away a few years ago, and his father is in jail due to a recent underage drinking party at his home. The home life is generally a very good home with good parental support (other than allowing alcohol consumption for minors). However,since the party his father has remained in jail, and the boy has asked me for a beer "because it looked good, and he really needs to relax." I said no, and he kept going on about it. Then, he mentioned again that he "really needed a beer so that he could relax, because he relaxes when he drinks" (although "he doesn't need the beer to relax"). Over this past weekend, one of his (the boy)neighbors bought him beer to drink while they fished, because "the neighbor knew that the boy needed to relax with all of the stress he's been under." This is a concern to me because although the boy says he doesn't have a problem, he still wants to drink even after the charge of illegal consumption and his father ending up in jail because of it. The boy is now upset with me because I asked him to speak with his aunt (a drug and alcohol counselor)to get her opinion, and he exclaims that "he does not have a problem!" As a mother, I
not only care about my own kids, but I care about their friends too. In the light of everything this kid has been through in the last few years, I understand that he is stressed and upset, but I believe he needs some kind of help before the alcohol becomes a bigger problem for the boy.
I would have to agree with you. If someone at this age is so desperate for a drink in order to relax then they are already psychologically dependent on alcohol. He is trying to cope with life's problems (and compared to the average teenager he has problems) by drinking. As we all know this is not a healthy solution.
I think his aunt should be informed of the boy's drinking as she may well have more influence over him being a member of his family. If he is not willing to go to her then maybe you could have a quiet word with her. Think carefully, however, before you do as this could make the boy feel that people are going behind his back and ganging up on him. which could drive him to reject all offers of help. Perhaps you could give the boy an ultimatum and tell him that unless he goes to see his aunt you will tell her yourself. Although this may seem a little harsh you need to remember he is still a child and needs all the help he can get.
All the best.
All the best