Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers
How to Say It to Teens: Talking about the Most Important Topics
in Their Lives
by Katrina Day Wester
Do you have
a teenage child that has questioned why she can’t drink while
you do? Do you have an appropriate response for her other than saying,
“It’s the law”? Do you worry that peer pressure
might one day overcome your usually sensible teen? If so, here are
some facts to arm yourself with the next time you and your teen get
into a discussion about drinking.
a teen might feel “old” enough to drink alcohol, the truth
is that their bodies are still developing and alcohol has a greater
impact on their physical and mental well-being than it does on an
who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop
alcoholism than those who begin after age 21.
affects your brain; it can lead to a loss of coordination, poor judgment,
slowed reflexes, distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts.
can damage every organ in your body.
depresses your central nervous system thereby lowering your inhibitions.
By doing so, it affects your self-control that can lead to risky behavior
including unprotected sex.
amounts of alcohol can lead to coma or even death.
- It is illegal
to buy or possess alcohol if you are under 21.
- One drink
can make you fail a Breathalyzer test. In some states that means you
can lose your driver’s license.
drugs and alcohol can be deadly.
Even if you
did drugs as a teen, you might not be able to recognize the signs of
drug use today. Many of the drugs are different.
as a parent, can you tell if your child has a drinking problem? Here
are some of the warning signs. Is your child:
run-down, depressed or suicidal
problems at school or with the law
TIPS FOR PARENTS:
your own intake of alcohol.
- Talk to
your child about alcohol and its consequences.
- Set the
rules and then enforce them.
- Set a curfew
and make it known that it’s non-negotiable.
- Talk to
your child about peer pressure and work with her to stand up when
the pressure gets tough
your child often that you will always pick her up from a party “no
questions asked” if she is concerned about the designated driver
or about driving herself.
If you are
worried about your child using drugs, you are not alone, but just bear
in mind that alcohol kills 6 times the number of people killed by every
illegal drug combined. The numbers are staggering: ten million Americans
are addicted to alcohol and it’s the #1 drug problem of today's
youth. Don’t let your child be a part of the statistics talk to
them early and often about the dangers of alcohol.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) The
Facts for Families©
M.A.D.D. (Mother’s Against Drunk
U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (Alcohol and Drug Information) http://www.health.org