This nation has a complicated relationship with alcohol. It is okay for adults to drink, but not children and teens. Some studies show health benefits from a glass of wine per day, but there is overwhelming evidence that too much alcohol can have devastating effects on health. And in the media, alcohol is sometimes portrayed as fun and glamorous, while at other times, it is shown as a dangerous drug with potential for addiction.
Teens are at an impressionable phase in their lives and are very susceptible to the mixed messages our culture sends about alcohol. That’s why ARCpoint Labs wants to take a moment today to look at the problem of teen alcohol use.
The Facts About Teen Alcohol Use
The Dangers of Under Age Drinking
Teens tend to be experimental and curious about the effects of drugs and alcohol. Because of their developmental stage, they are interested in fitting in with their peers who are drinking and curious about what the feeling of consuming alcohol in various quantities might be like. But the teen years are not a good time for this type of experimentation. The adolescent brain is still developing, and alcohol use can change the development patterns in a way that might have life long consequences. Additionally, teens face the risk of alcohol related accidents like car crashes or unplanned pregnancies when they drink.
Ways Parents Can Prevent Teen Alcohol Use
Parents are one of the best weapons in the fight against teen drinking. Here are some tips for helping to develop responsible attitudes toward alcohol in teens:
- Make your expectations clear. If you never tell your teens how you feel about teenage drinking, you cannot expect them to read your mind. State your expectations for your teen’s behavior around alcohol early and often. And be consistent with how you enforce your stated policies on alcohol use.
- Set a good example. If you choose to drink, make sure that your children see you doing it responsibly. Parents who drink moderately around their children can model appropriate behavior for alcohol consumption, making it clear that the trend toward teenage binge drinking is not a healthy or normal way to approach alcohol.
- Know the warning signs. Teens may not be honest about their alcohol use, so every parent should be aware of the warning signs to watch for with their child. Watch for signs of unusual fatigue, changes in mood, changes in sleeping pattern, depression, anxiety, or change in personal appearance.
One of the best ways parents can protect their teens from alcohol is to monitor them with regular testing services at an accredited lab. ARCpoint Labs is experienced in testing teens and we can work with you to make sure your teen’s physical and mental wellness aren’t compromised by alcohol use.