Alcohol abuse is not just an adult problem. Most American high school seniors have had an alcoholic drink within the past month.
About 1 in 5 teens are considered problem drinkers. This means they:
The best time to begin talking with your teen about drugs and alcohol is now. Children as young as 9 years old may become curious about drinking, and they may even try it alcohol.
Saying nothing to your children about drinking may give them the message that teen drinking is okay. Most children choose not to drink because their parents talk with them about it.
The best way for your children to be comfortable talking with you about drinking is to be honest and direct. You may want to prepare and think about what you will say ahead of time.
Tell your child how you feel about their using alcohol. Once you have started talking with your teenager, continue to bring it up at times when you are talking about related issues.
Puberty and the teenage years are a time of change. Your child may have just started high school or may have just gotten a driver’s license. They may have a sense of freedom they never had before.
Teenagers are curious. They want to explore and do things their own way. But pressure to fit in might make it hard to resist alcohol if it seems like everyone else is trying it.
How to talk with your teen:
What to do:
Risky drinking or alcohol abuse in the home can lead to the same habits in children. Children become aware of the drinking patterns of their parents at an early age.
Children are more likely to drink:
What you can say to your teen:
What to do:
If you think your child is drinking but will not talk with you about it, get help. Your child's health care provider may be a good place to start. Other resources are:
Underage drinking - talking; Risky drinking - talking to teens; Alcohol abuse - talking to teens
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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