Teens and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination

Teens and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you may have been faced with the subject of underage drinking; and, even if you haven’t experienced it personally, you’ve likely given the matter some thought. With alcohol being affordable, relatively easy to obtain, and popular among teens and young adults, the threat of underage drinking is very real, and one that hits close to home for countless families. However, while teenage drinking is a common issue, many parents are not only uninformed but also unsure of how to broach this topic with their kids.

Keep reading for tips on spotting the symptoms of alcohol abuse, and talking to your children about the risks and complications of underage drinking.

Talking to Your Kids About Underage Drinking

Communicating with a teenager can be challenging, to say the least. And, unfortunately, touchy subjects like alcohol are even harder to talk about. Thankfully, tips like the following can help:

* Keep the lines of communication open. If you expect your children to be open with you, you have to let them know that you’re there, 24/7. No time is the wrong time to discuss underage drinking, so let your children know that you’re always willing to listen and help.

* Stay calm. When talking about teenage drinking, emotions can run high. Keep in mind that anger and other strong emotions can make your teen shut down completely, therefore severing the lines of communication and leaving you unable to help. So, remember to keep your cool, no matter what’s thrown your way, and give your child a safe space where they can speak, openly and honestly.

* Don’t judge. Just like anger, judgment can spell disaster for healthy communication. Although this issue is very personal, try to view it through an objective lens. Also, try to put yourself in your child’s shoes: how would you want your parents to communicate and react in a similar situation?

* Explain the risks. Without using scare tactics, explain the risks of underage drinking to your teen. Include points like lowered inhibitions, poor judgment, legal complications and an increased risk of injury and assault.

Spotting the Signs of Underage Drinking

Even if you’ve got the communication thing down to a science, it’s a good idea to learn to spot the signs of alcohol abuse in your teenager. Underage drinking is often associated with symptoms and behaviors like the ones listed below.

* Mood swings. Yes, teenagers can be moody; however, excessive mood swings can indicate a larger problem. Depression, mania, and irritation are common among individuals suffering from drug or alcohol abuse. According to addiction specialists at Crestview Recovery Center, which offers personalized drug rehab, alcohol can lead to erratic, or even violent, behaviors.

* Social withdrawal, or changes in social behaviors. Many teens exhibit social withdrawal when struggling with substance abuse; others may start hanging out with a new crowd, while spending less and less time with old friends.

* Problems at school. Dropping grades and problems with teachers and other authority figures can point to a problem with alcohol. If your teen is having issues at school, it’s worth it to find out if alcohol is part of the problem.

* Physical signs of drinking. Slurred speech, trouble with balance, nausea and vomiting, bloodshot eyes and drowsiness are a few visible signs of intoxication. When abuse of alcohol is prolonged, teens may exhibit marked changes in appearance, fluctuations in weight, problems with hygiene and more.

Underage drinking and teen alcoholism are serious issues. And though it’s an emotional topic that’s difficult to address, parents and kids can communicate about alcohol, honestly and effectively. And with the tips provided here, you’re better equipped to talk to your child, as well as spot the warning signs of underage drinking. If the problem has progressed to an addiction, finding a local addiction specialist should be your next call. You can help a functioning alcoholic recover by referring them to a recovery center.


  1. Marti Tabora says

    This is really great information. Teenagers are not at all capable of handling alcohol and the fact is many adults are not even capable of making good decisions regarding drinking. Thanks for the information.

  2. Jo-Ann Brightman says

    This is good tips and information It can be very hard to analyze ateenager’s moods, but one must always keep open the lines of communication and try to ensure that thew child will speak to the parent.

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