Teenage drinking is a rising concern these days. But it is curable and is not inevitable.
Causes of Teenage Drinking
Teens are highly vulnerable to alcohol abuse. One of the major causes could be the physical or the hormonal changes especially during puberty which brings within them a feeling of self-conscious or the urge to prove themselves big and mature enough. This gives them encouragement to adopt riskier measures like alcoholism. Fighting with stress and other challenging situationsmight also influence them to consume alcohol. It is really hard to make them realize the harmful consequences of alcohol and the acts they commit after consuming it.
Other risk factors could be:
- Family tensions like fights, divorce or, alcohol abuse by the parents.
- A major trauma or child abuse.
- Mental health problems or other behavioral problems.
- Peer pressure or bad company.
Consequences of Teenage Drinking
Teenage drinking may lead to the following consequences:
- Causalities or fatalities: Consumption of alcohol may cause accidents that may become a cause of deaths in teens. Teen suicides, drowning and other offenses like murders may also be associated with alcohol use.
- Sexual activity: Teenage drinking may also lead to indulgence in earlysexual activity in comparison to those who do not drink.There is even a higher risk of having unprotected sex in such teens.
- Academic issues: Teens who consume alcohol tend to have worse academic as well as conduct problems than others.
- Alcohol dependence: There are higher chances of dependence on early start of drinking
- Violence/crime: Teenage drinking is more likely to cause injuries or indulgence in a violent crime, likerape, robbery or assault.
- Mental effects: Drinking may also distort the mental health of teens.
Prevention of Teenage Drinking
- Talk to the teens: Choose a suitable time to talk. It is better to talk in short intervals than talking all at once in order to have a greater impact on them.
- Exchange views with them: Ask the teen about his/her knowledge about alcohol and its consumption.
- Tell them the facts about alcohol: A parent or guardian should be considerate enough to acknowledge the teen about the harmful effects of alcohol on body and mind. Explain the risks of drinking in a way that could keep their self-respect intact. One should be honest with teens and should avoid scaring them. Tell them all the possible problems that could develop on drinking.
- Correct their myths: Teens may believe that drinking alcohol could make them popular or may solve their problems. They need to be explained that alcohol can make them feel good for a moment but the harmful consequences are bigger.
- Know how to handle peer pressure: Teens should know how to say no to offers of alcohol by their peers. Parents should encourage a healthy friend circle and should be extra careful if any of your teen’s friend drinks alcohol.
- Share your own experiences on drinking: Explain why you never had alcohol during your teenage. Also be prepared to answer their questions if you drink at present. You may share a negative consequence with your drinking experience.
- Build a good relationship: Support your teen by regular interactions and also tell them ways to handle peer pressure.
- Pay attention to your teen’s activities: Keep an eye on their activities and routines so as to take an action at the earliest.
- Create rules and regulations: Making strict rules against underage drinking and making sure that they are enforced consistently is another important step.
- Set examples: Tell them through instances, how not drinking can benefit over those who drink.
Management of Teenage Drinking
If your teen is into alcohol consumption, you maynotice behavior ormood changes like rednessof eyes or unusual health complaints.You should talk to them and tell them the consequences they will have to face if they continued to drink. You may also consult a doctor or a counselor or other health care provider to help you managethese problems.