Teenagers and alcohol are a deadly mix. More and more teens are finding ways to start drinking at earlier and earlier ages. Just one drink sets a teen up for a downward spiral of wanting to drink more and more. The trouble with teens is that once they decide they want to do something, nothing you say or do is going to keep them from finding a way to do it.
Teen drinking carries so many dangers with it; some of which can be deadly. Knowing the dangers for yourself can help you talk to your teen about them and hopefully keep them away from it. Being a parent is never easy and it certainly doesn’t end once your child starts taking care of himself. Parents need to be more involved than ever during the teen years; being the nosey over-bearing parent is sometimes the only way to make sure that your child does not become headline news.
Drinking is detrimental to the overall health of a full grown adult, so just imagine what it is doing to your developing teenager. The teen years are when a lot of major changes take place and growth is developing at a rapid rate. It is during this phase of life when teens start to transition into adulthood. Hormones and changes that they do not quite understand make teens incredibly vulnerable. In a desperate attempt to fit in, they pick up that first drink and set themselves up for a long road of major problems.
Drinking effects nearly every organ; starting with the liver. Not only that, but your teen is growing mentally as well as physically. Drinking during this pivotal time can have major effects on their mental and emotional development. A major health risk that teenage drinking poses is sexuality; when thoughts are jumbled and judgment is clouded, sexual activity adds to the issue. Unprotected sex can lead to a number of health problems for your child. Most parents are only concerned about pregnancy, but aside from that there is a mile-long list of diseases; some that can be fatal.
The effects of teenage drinking clearly manifest themselves in your child’s school performance. A once straight-A student can suddenly be failing everything in a short amount of time. Teens are starting to drink as young as 12 and 13 years old; the earlier they start, the more damaging the effects.
Teens who begin drinking while still in Junior High are at a higher risk for academic problems, delinquent behaviors, substance abuse, and violence. Kids and teens were not meant to consume alcohol; their bodies cannot properly process it and their developing minds cannot deal with the altering effects that alcohol has. Teen drinking has the potential to become something that haunts your child for the rest of their life and can be a habit that they never break. Individuals who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent or full blown alcoholics.
The teenage years are a time of rapid growth and development. Proper care during this time is vital to ensuring a healthy future. The effects of drinking have major behavioral effects on teens and can often cause a permanent change in personality and temperament. Teens are heavily influenced by what their friends are doing and are generally not willing to be the odd one out. Just one drink is often enough to bring your child’s once bright future to a screeching halt. Simply forbidding your child from drinking is not enough. This is one of those instances when you have to be the “mean parent,” and do whatever it takes to keep your child away from the influence.
Teens just don’t understand that a few drinks and wild parties now are not worth sacrificing their entire future. It’s a shame to watch so many bright teenagers fall prey to the effects of underage drinking.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that 5,000 teens are dying each year due to the effects of underage drinking. Causes of these fatalities include car crashes, unintentional injury while intoxicated, murders, and suicides. Is this really something you want your teen to be at risk for?
A national US survey shows that over 10 million teens are drinking in the US alone. These teenagers are setting themselves up for a whole host of problems; many of which they probably don’t even understand or realize. Teens are still children; they have their whole lives ahead of them and the decisions that they make now are going to affect the rest of their lives. Drinking leads to academic problems, legal problems, sexuality, and sometimes even death.
Your child’s entire life is on the line when they pick up that first drink. As a parent, you have to do whatever it takes to make sure that you avoid the dangers completely; prevention is much easier than dealing with the aftermath.