Raising Productive Teens
"Lending A Helping Hand"
What Are the Facts?
Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug in our country. Every year more than 4,700 people under the age of 21 die a death relating to alcohol, and an additional 1,900 under age drinkers die in alcohol related car accidents. In 2010, 189,000 ER reports were related to under age drinking. In the United States 11% of the alcohol consumed is by minors between the ages of 12 and 20. Research shows that brain development continues through an adults early 20’s, and drinking at young ages can slow or interfere with brain development. It also increases one’s chance of having an alcohol addiction. Under age drinking can lead to stress and depression and has been involved in an estimated 300 suicides each year.
How It Affects You
The depressant effects of alcohol can cause slow breathing and heart irregularities, leading to coma and death. Even then, if they don't reach one of those two ultimatums, it still has devastating effects on their bodies. Research shows that underage drinking affects your brain; teens who drink have brains 10% smaller than those who don't drink. This has a toll on their academics. Teens who drink more often get F's and D's while teens who don't tend to get A's and B's. Long-term effects of underage drinking include damage to the heart, lungs, and liver. This can lead to a shortened lifespan. Also, alcohol can imbalance a teen's hormonal levels at a time that these chemicals need to be balanced and working on a teenager's body.
Another unavoidable effect of alcohol in teens is a drop in reasoning, understanding, and socializing. Teens who drink are more likely to take risky decisions, leading to diseases, injuries, and life-scarring memories. A drop in understanding and social behavior leads to a less than rewarding life.
Set appropriate restrictions that will go into effect if your child is caught drinking under the age and make sure that these are well known and understood. Will they be grounded? Will certain things be taken away? Are they allowed out of the house? and How long will things remain that way?
You should also talk to them about tragic outcomes that frequently happen as a result of underage drinking. Things such as school issues, legal problems, health concerns, disruption of normal growth, changes in brain development that may have lifelong effects, Alcohol-related deaths and injuries, and so many more. The sad thing is, all of these things are 100% preventable, just don't drink!
So What Can You Do?
So what if you didn't tell them in time? We can't guarantee that it would have prevented your child from doing it anyway. They have to make that decision on their own. The real question is, how can you help them?
No one wants to go at it alone. Encourage them to overcome drinking. Give your child a reason to stop, before it's too late. Try your best to be understanding and let them know that you’re there for them. They need support, and many organizations are more than willing to lend a helping hand.
http://www.samhsa.gov advises that when getting help for a child who drinks, the first thing to do is to try not to blame yourself or your child. The important thing is taking action as soon as possible to find the best available services to help your child stop using alcohol and begin building an alcohol-free future.
Research and Further Information