The wise parent realizes that underage drinking is a real problem that can affect preteens and teenagers from all races, religions and socioeconomic brackets. Underage drinking can lead to heavy drinking later in life, which can lead to addiction and health problems. In fact, alcohol use is tied to approximately $171 billion in health care costs in the United States every year. Here are some tips for parents who want to keep their teenagers from drinking as well as for parents who have discovered that their teenagers have been drinking.
Recognizing Symptoms in Teenagers
Teenagers are heavily influenced by their friends. Even though they may not have an interest in alcohol themselves, they may feel pressure to try it to keep up with a certain social circle. Parents have a key role in ensuring that their children understand that it is ok to go against the social norm. Parents should always provide a safe place where their children can share and should not yell at their children during these discussions. Parents should state objections calmly and let children know that underage drinking is not only illegal but also dangerous. In addition, parents should never let their children try alcohol at home or at a party as this can start them down a path of experimentation.
Parents who discover that their teens have tried alcohol should never sweep this behavior under the rug. Even one or two drinks can start them on a path towards unhealthy alcohol usage and addiction. A professional counselor can be a help in these cases, providing individual therapy that can help teens see why they were trying alcohol in the first place. For teens who are addicted to alcohol or who are binge drinkers, an outpatient alcohol rehab center can be key to giving them a multi-faceted approach towards kicking the habit.