As parents, we all remember the days when either we were tempted to drink underage or we had friends who were drinking underage. The same reasons that teens drank alcohol when we were younger hold true for today’s generation.
Teen alcohol consumption might not have gone up since we were their age, but there is still danger in teen drinking. Why teens drink has not changed. Peer pressure, escape from reality and a lack of structure can all be reasons why a teen might start drinking.
As one expert, Dr. Deborah Gilboa, suggests, the teen brain is wired to be attracted to risk. What once stimulated your child in an exciting way may no longer provide the same results. For this reason, teens begin experimenting with substances, specifically alcohol.
One reason teens drink is to show off that they are breaking the rules. Our society glorifies deviant culture and our teens are exposed to this behavior in numerous popular culture media from songs to movies.
Ultimately, in order to understand why your child in particular drinks, you need to ask questions. Talk to your teen about what he or she may already know about alcohol and then set them straight. Chances are your child already knows the potential consequences but this process of re-articulation back to you is a good reminder.
Some think teen drinking is OK because they see their parents do it or they see friends’ parents do it. Despite the fact that alcohol is a drug, it seems less threatening to children when they know people who are close to them that drink, says parenting professional and psychologist, Michael J. Bradley.
Ultimately, teens drink for a number of reasons and the way to best help them as a parent is to understand your child’s unique justification of such risky behavior. Help them at least try to comprehend that their tolerance for risk has gone up but the consequences for more dangerous behavior are higher too.
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About Michael J. Bradley, EdD
Michael J. Bradley, EdD, award-winning author, has counseled adolescents and their parents for over 30 years and currently has a private practice in suburban Philadelphia. As a recognized specialist in adolescent behavior and parenting, Dr. Bradley is in demand as a speaker and facilitator for mental health professionals, educators, and parenting groups. He has appeared on over 400 radio and television shows, including CNN, The Today Show and Good Morning, America, and has been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers such as USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Parents Magazine. His website forum is a great source of advice and encouragement to parents.