Even though teens are drawn to alcohol, the reason can’t exactly be easily defined. Studies show that 60% of teens have had at least one drink by the age of 18. As a parent, it can be hard to understand why your teen may be so enamored with alcohol and hard to keep them away from it. But there are many core issues that can lead to a teen being fascinated with, and in turn consuming alcohol. Read on to learn more about those core issues and how you can influence your teen to make better decisions.
At an early age, kids are most concerned with the opinions of their parents. But, as a child becomes a teen, that concern will often shift to the opinions of their friends. In order to fit in with a certain friend group or seem cool, they may drink alcohol. Whether inadvertent or direct, the peer pressure of drinking can be hard to deal with. A child might believe that if they don’t drink, they may be considered an outcast.
Dealing With Stress
From grades to family problems, to friends, teens have a lot on the brain. They’re starting to grow out of the optimism of childhood and beginning to understand the stressors that come with growing up. They may see alcohol as a viable solution to life’s problems, whether through the media or the influence people around them and choose to try it out for themselves. The best way to help your teen through their stress is to show them healthier ways to deal with it. For example, better ways to deal with stress would be exercising or journaling.
No matter where you look, alcohol use is bound to be throughout the media. Especially thanks to the rampant popularity of the internet, there are more ways than ever for alcohol companies to advertise to teenagers. Studies show that social media has a strong influence on today’s adolescents and young people when it comes to alcohol. It’s important to be aware of the media that your teen is consuming and talk about it whenever possible.
Simply, alcohol gives teens something to do. When their time isn’t being utilized productively, using alcohol can give teens the excitement that they aren’t getting from their everyday lives. Additionally, using alcohol might lead them to like-minded individuals. This leads to more friends, which in turn cures the boredom that they once had. In order to cure this boredom, encourage your child to get involved with some after-school activities. For example, they can join a school club or volunteer for a local non-profit. There are tons of productive ways to occupy a teen’s time and, they all are better than alcohol.
Teens often think that they’re resident experts on various subjects, including alcohol. This leads to misinformation about alcohol running rampant. Often, teens will tell others that the effects of alcohol are minimal at best. In order to combat these untrue notions, be sure to inform your teenagers about the facts so they can be more aware of the danger of drinking.
Getting Drunk/Instant Gratification
Unlike other activities, you don’t have to do much in order to get drunk from alcohol. All you have to do is drink and you’ll quickly begin to feel those effects. If the teen is looking for a shortcut to good feelings and happiness, alcohol may seem like a good choice.
Some teens believe that drinking alcohol is a necessary part of growing older. In turn, they will drink in order to make themselves feel older and connect with older people. Also, teenagers may constantly feel like they’re being pulled between childhood and adulthood. They’re told that “they’re too young for this” and “they’re too old for that”. They may feel as though drinking alcohol can prove that they’re old enough to do other things that adults do. In order to combat those feelings, show them that you respect their growing maturity. Acknowledging that they’re growing older and giving them more responsibilities will help them realize that there’s more to adulthood than drinking alcohol.
Teens rebel in many different ways, including drinking alcohol. Some teens may just do it because they know they aren’t supposed to and they’re looking to make their parents mad in the process. Along the way, they may try to experiment with other drugs including marijuana.
Copying Parents and Older Siblings
When teens constantly see their parents and older siblings using alcohol as a way to wind down or celebrate, they may see alcohol as a needed aspect of their life. If you continually see alcohol as a means to an end, whether that end is relaxation, celebration, or happiness, you may want to think twice about how that influence may affect your child.
There are many nerve-wracking parts of being a teenager. For example, they may want to ask someone to the school dance or perform at the school’s talent show. They may see alcohol as a way of removing those nerves. Also, they may think that if they do something unsightly it won’t lead back to who they truly are. The people around them will just think that they had too much to drink. Remind your teen that even though alcohol does diminish inhibitions, that effect can lead to disastrous results (for example, drinking and driving).
Teens drink for a variety of different reasons. It all depends on a teen’s natural environment whether that be friends, family, or stress. It’s important to encourage open communication between you and your child and give them the communication that they need. Being a positive influence in your teen’s life will, in turn, decrease the chances of them trying alcohol. In turn, the problem won’t get worse as time goes on and lead to the realms of alcohol abuse and rehab.