|Experimentation with alcohol during the teen years is common. Some reasons that teens use alcohol and other drugs are: |
curiosity to feel good, reduce stress and relax to fit into feel older
From a very young age, kids see advertising messages showing beautiful people enjoying life and alcohol. And because many parents and other adults use alcohol socially having beer or wine with dinner, for example, alcohol seems harmless to many teens.
Teenage years are hard. Most kids are just trying to navigate the choppy waters of school and friends. Whether it’s making the basketball team, sitting at the “right” table at lunch, or having a core group of friends they can always count on — teens want to have a place where they belong.
Teens Want to Feel Grown-Up
By the time most kids are sophomores in high school, they can be physically as big as most adults. They might be driving, working a part-time job, and have more responsibilities at home, like looking after a younger sibling. Teens are maturing and are eager to be treated like an adult. They may see alcohol as something that grown-ups do, so why shouldn’t they?
In teenagers’ minds, growing up means bending, or dare we say, breaking the rules. Most teens think they have all the answers. They’re experts on how much they need to sleep at night, they don’t think spending hours on their smartphones is a problem, and they think they can drink alcohol without short and long-term consequences.
Teens See Parents Drinking at Home
Parents over 21 can absolutely have a drink and don’t have to hide it. Additionally, responsible behavior about alcohol can actually set a good example for children. So, when young adults turn 21 and can legally choose to have a drink, they know what responsible behavior looks like. For example, when the family goes out to a restaurant, make a point of saying that Dad is going to have a non-alcoholic drink with dinner; because he’s driving home.
Let’s face it, the teenage years are a roller coaster of hormones and emotions. One minute your teen is on cloud nine because he scored the winning goal in a big soccer game, and the next day he’s completely overwhelmed by an upcoming math test. He may think alcohol is the answer to numbing those feelings of depression or chasing the high of being the team hero. It is important to help your teens establish healthy coping strategies and outlets for fun and excitement.