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Drinking Alcohol and Teenagers

Updated on May 18, 2013
Beer
Beer | Source

Alcohol and Teens

Alcohol is a mind altering drug unlike the others. It is the most widely acceptable and available drug on the planet.

Teenagers drink for many reasons.

Every year older a teenager gets, the more likely they will drink. It is unrealistic to believe that your teen will be able to avoid alcohol during Junior High and High School.

It is extremely important that teenagers know the truth about this drug and that they are given tools to help them avoid all the problems that are associated with it.

The brain isn’t fully developed until approximately age 25. People under that age are still growing and they aren’t able to predict the consequences caused by different drugs. Alcohol is damaging to the developing brain and it can destroy confidence and normal social development. Parents and loved ones owe it to the teenagers in their lives to help prevent drinking during the teen years anyway they can.

Have You Ever Explained The Reasons Why It's Illegal to Dring As a Teenager?

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Explain What Alcohol Is And What It Does

The mystery of the forbidden beverage makes it more appealing than ever. Drinking during the teenage years is dangerous for many reasons.

Teen's face the possibility of:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Being arrested
  • Car accidents Getting in a fight
  • Being sexually assaulted, and many more

There is a lot of lying, sneaking around and guilt when teenagers drink. That alone will cause major problems in the home and isolate the teen from their parents and family. Teenagers frequently feel misunderstood and frustrated during those confusing years and alcohol just widens the gap. This causes them to feel even more alone and inevitably creates another reason to drink more alcohol. The cycle begins. Those are just the effects of things that can happen as a result of drinking alcohol.

Alcohol alone carries numerous life altering affects that will follow kids throughout the rest of their lives. Teenage drinkers are more likely to become alcoholics as adults and their maturity is halted at the point that they start using. It’s called Arrested Development and it makes all of the normal challenges and situations that people face, almost impossible for the user to handle.

For example, if someone starts drinking alcohol at age 14, their maturity and responsibility level stays there until they completely quit drinking. When that same person is 18 years old and expected to handle college or paying their own bills, they can’t do it. This lack of maturity and skills is frustrating to the user so they drink more to escape.

It is a destructive and hurtful cycle for everyone involved.

Alcoholics Anonymous or Self-Management and Recovery Training

Take them to an AA meeting or a SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) meeting which are held in person in some US states or online anywhere.

The stories they hear and the people they meet at these meetings allow young users to get a rare peek into what their future may hold. It is common for teens to have the attitude that they are invincible and that bad things can’t happen to them but even the most stubborn teen will be affected by this exposure on some level.

The impact might not show at first but, that is an experience that can’t be forgotten and it will always be in their mind for them to refer to when they need it.

Chicken Wings
Chicken Wings | Source

There Are Other Options to Drinking

Show teens an alternative to drinking. When there is a beach party on Friday night and you know from experience that alcohol will be flowing like water, say NO but offer an alternative plan.

Suggest taking your teen and their friends to their favorite place to eat and then an indoor rock climbing wall, midnight bowling, or go-cart racing and then get Henna tattoos. How about going to the batting cages then out to a local sports restaurant to see who in the group can handle the hottest wings? There are many possibilities when you get creative!

You might miss out on some sleep and a few dollars but your teen will be safe and you will have taught them that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a great time with friends. If they don’t want you to go with them, give them a gift card to where ever you decide they can go.

Do not hand them a bunch of cash and the car keys. That is too much temptation for even the most responsible kid.

Do You Know Any Adults Who Allow Teens To Drink Alcohol?

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Always Wait Up

When your teenager goes out with friends, make sure someone is up to greet them when they get home.

This serves two purposes, they know they are important enough that someone cares that they got home safe, and it will be obvious if they were drinking or using other drugs while they were gone.

When they know that they will have to face someone at home, it will make them think twice before succumbing to the peer pressure. Teenagers don’t always express it very well but, your opinion and approval has a huge influence over there decisions.

Know Your Teenager's Teachers

Introduce yourself to your teen’s teachers at the beginning of each school year and whenever they get a new class schedule.

It only takes a moment to send off an email or leave a voice mail. Simply let the teacher know who you are and let them know that if you can help them and your child succeed, that they can call you anytime. This will let the teacher know that you are an involved parent who cares about your child’s schooling and wellbeing.

This small gesture will increase the chances that the teacher will contact you if they notice any change in your teen’s behavior, attitude toward school or themselves, grades dropping, or new friendships with the kids who are known to drink or use other drugs.

Teachers often know more about what kids are up to than the parents do. They know which kids are friends with whom, which kids are dating each other and they know which kids are drinking alcohol.

The old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” still applies. Often they spend more hours in a day with your teen than you do. Teachers and school administrators are a wonderful asset to you for keeping your child safe.

Do You Drink Around Your Kids?

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Don’t Drink Around Your Teen

Don’t allow substance abuse around your teenager. If you or another adult in the home has a substance abuse problem take care of it as soon as possible. This is an extremely difficult subject and an even more difficult disease.

It can’t be stressed enough how damaging it is for a teenager to be raised with an alcoholic or other substance abuser in the same house. Adults often tell themselves that kids don’t realize what’s going on or, that it doesn’t affect them because they don’t pay attention anyway. There will always be a million justifications people give themselves to behave poorly but, they simply aren’t true.

Children know more and see more than anyone likes to admit. These experiences will change who they are forever. If there is an adult in the home who is drinking or using drugs they need to go as soon as possible.

If anyone is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction get help immediately! They need it, the child needs it, and the whole family deserves it.

Help Protect Teens

In short, alcohol is everywhere and teenagers have a very difficult time resisting the temptation of this dangerous drug.

It is certainly in their best interest that they avoid it as much as possible until they are old enough and mature enough to make an informed decision about what is right for them.

Until that time comes, it is the responsibility of the adults who love them to do everything in their power to try to protect them.

All kids deserve the right to grow and develop naturally and without life altering effects following them for the rest of their lives.

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    • roxanne459 profile image
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      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      I completely agree with you lovedoctor926! Underage drinking is way to common and unfortunately widely acceptable. It's so sad

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 5 years ago

      Great hub! You have pretty much covered everything.

      Drinking and driving is very dangerous. Getting behind the wheel when you are buzzed has the same effect plus police are always patrolling the area and stopping people for DUIs. Teenagers should not be drinking at all whatsoever! They are not mature to handle the responsibilities and underage drinking is illegal. I agree with you that parents should set an example for their kids and not drink in front of them unless it's Christmas Eve or New Year's Day and they are celebrating at home.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      adjkp25, that's a great idea! Parents should take every opportunity they can find to open the discussion and find out how their kids feel about...everything! TV shows and the news can be a great resource. Thank You! :)

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      As the father of 2 teenagers this is something that we have talked about before. Fortunately both of our kids understand what alcohol can do to anyone, regardless of their age. We watch shows that show people drunk or on drugs and they even laugh at how ridiculous these people look under the influence. In addition to us talking to them about it this has been a great tool as well.

      Voted up and useful.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you Mmargie1966. I really appreciate your input because I know it comes from experiece and wisdom! :)

    • Mmargie1966 profile image

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Bravo, my friend! I answered your polls, however both of my children are adults now (21 and 23). They both drink, but not heavily.

      When they were teens, we would celebrate holidays with a glass of wine or a beer (as it was when I was a teen). However, today is much different than my teenage years and parents must be vigilant and look for the signs.

      Excellent hub! I will share it - and voted up and across!

    • profile image

      summerberrie 5 years ago

      roxanne459, you are a wonderful advocate for teens. I really liked your suggestions. Thanks for the information.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you teaches12345, your imput means a lot!!! :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Wonderful advice for parents of teens. I agree whole heartedly with your advice to not drink in front of them. This is setting a standard for them to follow. Also your suggestions to find alternative social activity is the best thing at this age. Get them involved in sports, hobbies, volunteer work, etc. that will give them purpose and focus.

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      alliemacb, the teenage years are the hardest stage we go through in life. I'm sure your daughter will make the right choices for her, she has a involved mom who is looking out for her and clearly loves her very much! Lucky girl!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you fpherj48! I have said it before and I'll say it again, your grandkids are so blessed to have such involved and loving extended family! There is no greater gift and all that love and connection will help them have the confidence to battle peer pressure. You are amazing!

    • roxanne459 profile image
      Author

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      Thank you habee! I probably can't even imagine some of the things you have seen. No one has a birds eye view like a high school teacher. Thank you for all that you do! :)

    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

      This is a really good hub. I have a teenage daughter and alcohol is one of the big concerns as she gets closer to the legal drinking age which is 18 here in the UK. It's great advice for adults not to drink around teenagers as it eliminates the argument of - you're doing it, so why can't I? Voted up and useful.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      roxanne....I applaud you for this wonderflly written and very IMPORTANT message. As a Grandmother of pre-teens, I feel I need to prepare for ROUND 2 of the struggle to keep young people safe from the dangers of alcohol and educated as fully as possible.

      Drugs, alcohol, sex....just three of the many monsters out there, waiting to pounce on our precious unassuming youth....who can be so quickly an easily thrown off balance.

      I, for one, appreciate your sober stance and helpful advice.....you would be a perfect candidate to speak to high-schoolers everywhere! Think of the positive impact you would present. Bless you. UP +++

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Wonderful hub! As a retired high school teacher, I've seen this problem all too often. Shared on FB and Twitter and voted up!