Even a Little Is Too Much
Because parents want the best for their kids, we worry about them a lot. We want them to do well in school, feel a sense of self-worth and, most importantly, be healthy. Then why do some think it’s just an innocent rite of passage for teens to experiment with alcohol?
The age limit for alcohol is based on research that a young person’s body cannot cope with alcohol the same way adults’s body do. Teens respond to alcohol twice as quickly as adults and they have trouble knowing when to stop. Wanting to fit in, teens often drink to get drunk – which can have many harmful consequences.
Why Is Teen Drinking So Risky?
67% of teens who drink before age 15 eventually use other substances because their brain continues to develop well into adulthood – making teen drinking more harmful and impacting the ability to remember, learn, and reason.
Drinking even a small quantity of alcohol impairs their judgement, making it difficult to make decisions and explaining why alcohol is a factor in the three leading causes of teen deaths – car accidents, homicide, and suicide. It’s also a leading factor in sexual assaults.
Young people who drink before age 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent, compared with those who first drink in adulthood.
What Can I Do as a Parent?
– Young people really do listen when we talk to them about how harmful alcohol is. In fact, kids who have these conversations with their parents are 50% less likely to use alcohol than those who don’t have these conversations.
– Help them cope with peer pressure by practicing ways to say “no” if they are offered alcohol.
– Conversation is a two-way street. Listen as much as you talk. Ask them about their everyday stressors – you may be surprised what they’re going through.
– Letting them drink in your home – or even turning the other way when you know they are drinking – will not help them learn to be “responsible drinkers”. Studies show that the opposite is true. When teens feel they have their parents’ approval to drink, they tend to do so more often and in greater amounts.
Download facts and tips to talk with your teen about alcohol