You can blame whatever or whoever you want for this increase... an increasingly individualistic society, the education system, a lack of parental discipline and alcohol advertising are some of the scapegoats that people wheel out.
I am not interested in blame and neither should parents be. Their main concern is to ensure that their children do not abuse alcohol and, if they do, to discourage them from doing so. This is because the effects of teenage drinking, as illustrated by the teenage drinking facts below, are truly worrying.
Our FREE E-bookThe Parents Guide to Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Prevention is aimed at those parents who wish to stay abreast of their children's alcohol and drug use. The guide shows you how to spot the signs of substance abuse and what to do if you suspect your child is abusing alcohol and/or drugs. Catching teen drug and alcohol abuse early, can save a lot of heartache later. Your teenager may not thank you now, but a few years down the road they'll be truly grateful you intervened and saved them from a young life of addiction.
There are certain steps you can take to try and reduce the likelihood that a teenager will abuse alcohol.
These will only reduce the likelihood, you cannot stop a teenager from abusing alcohol if they are dead set on getting drunk.
Before we take a look at them first a few don'ts:
DON'T put the alcohol in your house into a cabinet/bar/cupboard, lock the door and say,"don't touch this".
Remember prohibition in the 1920's, it didn't work. Like a red rag to a bull
DON'T tell a teenager that alcohol is bad. Because it isn't if used safely. It is also beneficial to your health. It smacks of hypocrisy if adults drink and tell their children that it is bad.
DON'T treat your child like an idiot if you do find they have been abusing alcohol.Remember when you were a kid? Education and information about the consequences and problems associated with binge drinking will prove far more beneficial then petty punishments.
Now a few do's:
DO treat teenagers with the respect and intelligence they deserve. They are able to process information and weigh up pros and cons. Give them the facts about alcohol and alcohol abuse. Alcohol is not a tool of the devil. If used sensibly it is great. If used to excess it will damage you. And it can lead to alcoholism if allowed to.
DO use alcohol sensibly yourself. Drink in front of teenagers by all means but try not to abuse alcohol in front of them. Generally the behavior of our parents is what pre-adolescents see as normal and correct. This is the behavior they will subconsciously adopt as they progress into adulthood. So if you abuse alcohol so will they.
DO expose them to alcohol. By this I mean let them drink alcohol (if it is legal in your state/country) in your home. This might sound strange but research has shown that if teenagers are allowed to have one drink on occasion (maybe once a month or less-NO MORE)then they will generally have a more mature attitude to alcohol than those who are forbidden it. In France it is common for children to have diluted wine when eating with the family. They have one of the lowest incidences of teenage alcohol abuse in the world! A Connection?.... I think so.
DO encourage your child to have a variety of leisure activities. As they say, variety is the spice of life. Teens who are obsessive about a particular activity are more likely to abuse alcohol or other substances. Also, if your child is engaged in many activities they are much less likely to get bored. Boredom is a trigger for alcohol abuse.
DO set boundaries for your children. teenagers who know what their parents want from them are much less likely to abuse alcohol- goes without saying really.
Teenage Drinking Facts Why do Teens Drink?
Why do kids drink? There are an infinite amount of reasons, every teen is different, but the most common are:
Lack of clear boundaries- knowing what what is acceptable and what isn't.
If you know a teenager well, then it is not difficult to see in their behavior if they have been drinking or not.
Teenage Drinking Facts What do you do If a Teen is Drinking?
If you have read this page, teenage drinking facts, and you suspect that your child is abusing alcohol then it is essential you do something about it.
BURYING YOU HEAD IN THE SAND AND IGNORING THE PROBLEM IS NOT GOING TO HELP.
I am not saying send them off into alcohol rehab for a month. But what I am saying you, or someone they feel comfortable with, needs to talk to them.
Abusing alcohol, as outlined above, is a symptom of a child in trouble. Maybe they have self-esteem issues, are being bullied or suffer from depression.
It is better to deal with any underlying problems now rather than a teenager goes on to develop alcoholism.
If you suspect your child or a teenager you know is suffering from alcoholism (check my page on teen alcoholism for symptoms of teenage alcoholism) then it is time to look at treatment options for alcoholism.
If you have read teenage drinking facts and think you or someone close to you wants or needs help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:
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)