Alcohol and teens, what can we as parents do?

I want to talk about what we as parents can do about underage drinking but first just to summarize, Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teenagers in the United States. About half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis.

Teens don’t just drink. They binge drink. And they tend to mix other drugs such as marijuana with alcohol.

About 5,000 kids under 21 die every year as a result of underage drinking.

About 1,900 kids under 21 die every year in car crashes involving underage drinking.

Young people are more susceptible to alcohol-induced impairment of their driving skills.

Adolescents who drink are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour; either having sex with an undesirable partner or failing to use birth control leading to an unwanted pregnancy.

Drinking can also lead to impairment of the brains development, heightened depression leading to suicide and decreased academic performance.

So what can we as parents do to stay on top of this and encourage our kids to behave responsibly?First and foremost, we must behave responsibly ourselves. The best example we can set is to not drink at all.  If you do drink however, it is for the sake of the life of your child that you display responsible behavior in your own drinking.  If your child sees you sloppy drunk, falling down, slurring words, they will see that as acceptable behavior.

We need to talk with our kids about alcohol and other drugs at a younger age than we would prefer. They are starting in grade school so we better start talking in grade school. We need to teach them that some people abuse alcohol by drinking too much and too often.  They need to be taught how much is too much.  There is no magic insight or vision that is going to appear before them on their twenty first birthday that will allow them to drink responsibly and minimize the risk of a fatal auto accident.

Let me make one more crucial observation. Many teenagers do not recognize a difference between alcohol and other drugs. Conssymroycupo . I have talked to teens who say, “There is nothing wrong with marijuana, I smoke grass and you drink.  I really see no difference”.

Finally, as I found the hard way, a little beer can be a big problem. Alcohol is a gateway drug and can and frequently does lead to involvement with other substance abuse.

So the bottom line is we as parents have got to set the example and provide the education. To a great extent, our kids will  mimic our behavior.

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think or ask a question.  Thank you and let’s talk.   Let’s get to know each other.  Good luck in the days, months and years ahead. My wish for you is that your children row up healthy, and contribute to society in a positive way.  We will talk again.  This is Len. Bye for now!


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