Underage drinking and teen drinking. It’s normal for parents to be concerned about their children’s alcohol use. But there are ways to help your child cope with drinking stress and make better choices.
What To Do When Your Teenager Is Drinking
If you find out your child or teen is drinking, it’s normal to feel upset, angry and worried. Underage drinking can have serious consequences that may not show up until a child is later in life. Drinking alcohol at a young age can affect teens’ brain development, disrupt their sleep patterns, delay puberty, make it harder for them to concentrate at school, and even increase the risk of liver and heart disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer. .
Teen Alcohol Rehab
On top of that, underage drinking also has emotional and behavioral consequences. Alcohol consumption can affect a teen’s mood and personality, triggering depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts, and leading to increased risky behaviors such as impaired driving, unprotected sex, fighting, stealing or skipping school.
Children and teens are more likely to drink to excess than adults and are more likely to have alcohol problems. Experts believe this may be because the pleasure centers of teenage brains mature before their ability to make rational decisions. In other words, they may experience the pleasure of alcohol before making the right decisions about when and how much to drink. This can lead them to do things that are embarrassing at best and life-threatening to themselves or others at worst.
While parenting a teenager is never easy, it’s important to remember that you can still have a significant influence on your child’s choices, especially in the teens and early teens. With these guides, you can find the best way to talk to your child about alcohol, address any underlying issues, and help them make more informed decisions in the future.
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Adolescence can be a time of great change. As children struggle to assert their independence and establish their own identities, physical and hormonal changes can lead to emotional ups and downs. According to U.S. government statistics, by age 15, nearly 30 percent of children have consumed alcohol at least once, and that number rises to nearly 60 percent by age 18. Other countries have reported similar patterns.
While many teens will try drinking at some point out of curiosity, rebellion, or defiance, some decide to drink for more than one reason. The more you know about the potential causes of underage drinking, the easier it will be to talk to your child about the dangers and identify red flags in their behavior.
Peer pressure. This is one of the most common reasons for underage drinking. As children enter their teenage years, friends have an increasing influence on the decisions they make. Kids crave to fit in and be accepted, and kids are more likely to drink when their friends drink. If your child’s drinking coincides with a sudden change in their peer group, their new friends may encourage this negative behavior.
Healthy Drinks For Kids & Teens
Impact on the environment. Movies and TV can get every “cool” independent teen into a drink. Alcohol advertising also emphasizes the positive experience of alcohol and markets its brand as a desirable lifestyle choice. Social media, in particular, can make your kids feel like they’re missing out by not drinking, or make them unhappy with their lifestyle. You can help by explaining how social media can present a distorted and unrealistic view of other people’s lives, including how much they drink.
Solve the root problem. Adolescence is tough and children may turn to alcohol in misguided situations to cope with stress, boredom, school pressure, maladjustment, family problems or mental health issues such as anxiety, childhood trauma, ADHD or depression. .Due to alcohol is a sedative and self-medicating with it will only make the problem worse. If your child is constantly drinking on his own or drinking during the day, he may be struggling with a serious underlying problem.
Appears older and more independent. Teenagers often want to prove that they are not kids anymore. So if drinking is only for adults, that’s what they do. They can also replicate your own drinking habits to confirm their maturity. Remember, as a parent, your child is more likely to copy your actions than to listen to you. No matter how much you preach about the dangers of underage drinking, if you reach for a drink to unwind at the end of a stressful day, your kids may want to emulate you. If you’re concerned about your child’s drinking, you may also want to change your own drinking habits.
They lack parental boundaries. No matter how tall or mature your teen may seem, they need boundaries, discipline, and structure as always. While your rules may be different or stricter than they were when they were younger, not having boundaries can be confusing and overwhelming for teens. While you can expect your child to test any boundaries, be clear about what is acceptable behavior, what is not, and what the consequences are for breaking the rules.
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Most parents know all too well that talking to teens is no easy task. It’s easy to feel discouraged when your attempts to communicate are met with polite glances, incoherent grunts, or a slamming door. Or you may become hopeless because of your child’s relentless anger or indifference toward you. But finding a way to talk to your kids about alcohol is critical—whether you’re trying to stop them from drinking in the first place, or stop their existing alcohol use.
The earlier your child drinks, the more problems they’re likely to have later in life, so it’s never too early to start a conversation. The following strategies can help you open lines of communication with your teen without creating more conflict:
Choose the right time. Trying to talk to teens about their drinking problem when they’re watching their favorite show, texting with their friends, or having a heated argument with you about something else won’t work. Pick a time when your kids aren’t drinking and you’re calm and focused, and turn off your phone to avoid distractions.
Find common ground. Trying to jump right into a discussion about drinking can quickly lead to an awkward argument. A better approach is to find common ground, such as sports or movies. It may be easier to get your child to talk about the more sensitive issue of drinking when you can discuss shared interests peacefully.
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Make it a conversation, not a speech. Let your child speak up and open up about their thoughts and opinions, and try to listen without criticizing, disapproving, or judging. They want to be heard and understood, so it’s important not to blame and criticize them even if you don’t like or agree with what they have to say.
Discuss the reasons for not drinking. Teenagers often feel invincible — nothing bad will happen to them — so promoting the chronic health risks of underage drinking won’t stop them from drinking. Instead, talk to your kids about how drinking is affecting their appearance—bad breath, bad skin, and weight gain from all the empty calories and carbs. You can also talk about how drinking can make people do embarrassing things like urinating or throwing up on themselves.
Emphasize information about drinking and driving. If your child goes to a party and chooses to have a drink, this is a mistake that can be corrected. If they drank alcohol and then drove or got into a vehicle driven by someone else who was drinking, the mistake could be fatal to them or someone else. Make sure they always have another way to get home, whether it’s a taxi, a ride-hailing service, or calling you to pick them up.
Keep talking. Talking to your child about drinking is not a task to check on, but an ongoing discussion. Things change quickly in a teen’s life, so keep making time to talk about how they’re doing, keep asking questions, and keep setting a good example of responsible drinking.
From What Age Can Children Drink Alcohol While Accompanied By Their Parents In Ireland? Here’s What The Law Says
During their teenage years, your child is likely to be in social situations where they are served alcoholic beverages – for example, at parties or at a friend’s house. It’s hard for anyone to say “no” when all their peers are drinking. While it is extremely important for young people to fit in and be accepted by society, you
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