How Do I Stop My Teenage Boyfriend Drinking Every Weekend?
If your boyfriend drinks alcohol, it may reassure you to know that the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that a quarter of Americans between ages 12 and 20 drink alcohol despite the fact that the legal age for alcohol consumption is 21. Some 16 percent of those who claim they consume alcohol admit to binge drinking, and 90 percent of all alcohol consumed by young people in the United States is consumed in the context of binge drinking, data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reveals.
Does He Have a Problem?
While it upsets you that your boyfriend drinks every weekend, it would be wise to consider whether his drinking could be potentially dangerous as well. Whether or not your boyfriend is underage, if he is drinking 5 or more drinks on a single occasion within a couple of hours, he is classed as a binge drinker. Your boyfriend would be defined as a heavy drinker if he drinks more than 14 drinks per week, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Both of these types of drinking are unhealthy.
Despite the fact that you may be concerned about your boyfriend, according to "The Community-Reinforcement Approach", a report published in "Alcohol Research and Health", people do not generally respond well to direct confrontation about their drinking. An effective approach to reducing the number of occasions when someone drinks is to reward them for not doing so. Spending quality time with your boyfriend when he is not drinking, and offering supportive words when he chooses to be abstinent, are effective tactics in encouraging him to make positive choices.
Finding Sober Fun
Not only will offering rewards for choosing not to drink at the weekend have a positive impact on your boyfriend's behavior, but doing things together that don't involve drinking can give him other interests outside alcohol. You could go to places where drinking is less likely to be an option, such as taking a trip to the cinema or heading to a sport center. Perhaps you could meet up with other friends who do not drink at the weekend.
Finding More Support
If your efforts to stop your boyfriend drinking are unsuccessful, you will have to consider the fact that he may have a deeper problem with alcohol. Alcoholics Anonymous is a free organization he can go to in order to get support to stop drinking. Al-anon is a useful support group for those who are affected by a loved one's alcohol use, with a special branch called Alateen for teenagers. If your boyfriend does have a serious problem, it is vital to keep yourself safe and supported at all times.