Teen Alcoholism Facts

Teen alcoholism is alarming, and it is particularly threatening if alcoholism runs in your family.

You have more influence than you think. Peer pressure is only one reason that your child may be an underage drinker. In fact you may even be overly concerned. Here are some helpful facts: -Kids who start drinking before they are 15 are five times more likely to develop teen alcoholism than those who began drinking at 21 or older.

-In a national survey, a little more than 60% of eighth graders said drink was “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get..

- It may take less alcohol to affect a youngster's brain than a mature one, and the effects may be different. So what do you do? You’re not as powerless as you may think.

What you do and say can affect a child’s attitudes, but you must provide a clear and consistent message that underage drinking is unacceptable. You are a role model – so you must also practice what you preach. If you keep the communication open, your teenager or preteen will look to you for advice, and whether you drink or not, here are a few things you can do. 1) Discuss family rules. This should also include a discussion of religious observances.

2) Make it clear that drinking before age 21 is not only unacceptable, but also against the law. Explain that there are many negative effects on people of different ages and that the effects on a developing brain and body may be harmful.

3) Follow the federal recommendation that adults who drink should limit their consumption to 1-2 drinks per day, and that drinking and driving don't mix - as well as prescription medication.

4)Monitor the alcohol in your home.

5)Consider not serving drinks to other adults at child-focused events.

6)Don't be impulsive about talking about teen alcoholism. If you were an underage user, share some lessons that you learned but be clear why it was not a good idea then, as well as now.

If you or a family member is in recovery, don't avoid talking about it. You need to to explain about the problem and you should also inform the child that he/she may be more vulnerable to developing a drinking problem because there may be a genetic component.

Listen to the questions before bombarding children with answers. When you keep communication simple, be assured that you will get your message across and the child will understand. If your child is heading for teen alcoholism, you still can be an influence. Talk, don't put them down. Give them the facts. And they should know that alcohol and drugs don't mix.

More info on teen drug/alcohol abuse

Get the facts on binge drinking. Teen alcoholism can begin with binge drinking

Are you an enabler? Get tips to stop

Think you need an intervention? There are many pages on this site that can be useful to you. Go to

Coaching or a consultation can help you help your child

You'll be amazed, how when you have guidance to change your behavior, others also change.

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Source:Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMSA)

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