It’s difficult for parents of teenagers when it comes to alcohol. On one hand the modern, open minded parent doesn’t want to be an overbearing moralist, but on the other hand science is discovering negative effects when teenagers drink alcohol, especially if they’re binge drinking. This about teenage drinking is from Science Daily:
Teenage binge drinking is a major health concern in the United States, with 21 percent of teenagers reporting they have done it during the past 30 days. Among drinkers under age 21, more than 90 percent of the alcohol is consumed during binge drinking episodes. Binge drinking is defined as raising the blood alcohol concentration to 0.08 percent, the legal driving limit, within two hours (generally about five drinks for a male and four drinks for a female).
This is from the same article:
Repeated binge drinking during adolescence can affect brain functions in future generations, potentially putting offspring at risk for such conditions as depression, anxiety, and metabolic disorders, a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study has found.
Most experts state that the best way to deal with teenagers and alcohol use is to talk openly with them. Having one big “talk” with a teenager will not likely produce any effective results, but opening an ongoing dialogue is very helpful. If the teenager knows they can trust the parents, then it makes it easier for them to ask questions and solicit advice. Teenagers need to know the facts, but in order for parents to talk about alcohol and other drug use in an intelligent, factual manner, the parents must learn about alcohol and other drugs. If the parent is uncertain or has conflicting emotions and ideas regarding alcohol, then this will come across. Parents must be comfortable with the subject and what they think about alcohol and drinking in general.
It would be helpful for parents to learn about alcohol abuse and addiction, the differences between abuse and addiction and the signs and symptoms. Another thing is that many kids are choosing abstinence. Abstinence is a very valid, smart choice. Teenage drinking is not inevitable. While the brain’s developing, it’s risky to put anything in the brain that can effect it negatively. As science advances, results point more and more to teenage abstinence as a healthy, intelligent choice. Abstinence is not realistic in many cases because kids will experiment, but after a few bad experiences, along with knowledge of the facts about alcohol and other drugs, maybe abstinence will look smarter and more appealing.