Did you know that kids who drink alcohol are more likely to be victims of a violent crime, more at risk for traffic crashes, and likely to have serious school-related problems?
Believe it or not, you have more influence on your child’s values and decisions about drinking before he or she even begins to use alcohol. You can have a major impact on your preteen and teen’s drinking habits. Alcohol is a drug and knowing the risks that come with underage drinking is a key part of preventing alcohol abuse in preteens and teens. While it may seem like “just drinking” to some adults, teenage alcohol use has scary consequences. Alcohol is a mood- and mind-altering substance. As kids’ and teens’ brains are not fully developed, they lack the judgment and coping skills needed to handle alcohol.
Other risks of underage alcohol consumption include:
- Fatal accidents, including traffic-related deaths, drowning, suicide, and homicide.
- Increased sexual activity, especially unprotected. This can lead to sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy.
- Uncontrolled binge drinking and a very high risk of alcohol dependency during adult years.
- A high risk of becoming a victim of a violent crime, such as rape, robbery, and assault.
- Problems with school work, conduct in school, and college coursework.
More Connection, Less Risk
To protect our kids, it’s important to understand how they think, what they’re going through, and how they might feel. Having a strong relationship with your child is the best way to encourage good decision-making, especially when you’re not around. Preteens and teens are experiencing shifts in their brains. They are juggling stress and social pressure, school work and hormones. They want to fit in and make a way for themselves in the world- but they struggle with not yet being an adult.
So what can you do?
- Keep communication open and honest with your teen.
- Show that you care and you’re interested in their life- the highs and the lows.
- Set clear boundaries.
- Offer acceptance and understanding.
EmpowerTusc provides resources and assistance for families and individuals struggling with addiction. Visit their website at EmpowerTusc.com or give them a call at (330) 440-7319. You can also check out their list of local resources for those struggling with addiction, dependency, grief, anxiety/depression, and more.
Audrey Mattevi, Reporting