The teenage alcoholism is an increasingly common problem, although it can be treated, even prevented if parents and social institutions act intelligently and early.
Alcohol has been used for a long time in our society, either as a motivating element in the meetings of friends and families and even in work or study, which makes us see that it is deeply rooted in our customs.
See today as adults consume alcohol in the street, in the eyes of any child does not shock us, because we do not see this substance as a possible drug or danger to them. However, its consumption can have very negative effects on its development.
Alcohol in Adolescence
Sometimes, the family does not know how to deal with this problem, much less how to prevent it. Here are some guidelines:
1- The example, is the best support
If you consume alcohol, it is very likely that your child will also. However, there are ways to decrease this possibility:
- You drink alcohol moderately in your presence. The family as the first socializing agent can influence the behavior of the child in an almost irreversible way, that is why it can imitate us in some actions. Therefore, we must try not to consume alcohol in a moderate way in their presence.
- Make your child see that alcohol is not the right answer to deal with problems and that there are other ways. We have to try not to use phrases of the type: “alcohol is the answer to all problems”. Well, if we do, we will be inculcating the child that this is a reality and that there are no other ways of acting in the face of difficult situations that may arise.
- Try not to associate alcohol with positive events. Some people associate alcohol consumption with positive events, so it is important that this type of ideology is not maintained in the home.
- Do not take the car if you have drunk. As a father and mother we are continually giving lessons on how we should behave in each moment, so we have to give constant example.
2- Meet your children’s friends
If you know what friends your child has, you will be able to know the activities they usually do when they leave the house and even the tastes that each one has. Therefore, it is recommended that you let your children enjoy their friends at home.
Likewise, maintaining good communication with the parents of your child’s friends will allow you to be informed of the activities they are doing when they are at a party elsewhere (Martínez S / F).
3- Teach your child to maintain positive relationships
As we already know, the types of friendships and people that surround our child can influence both positively and negatively their behavior. Since, in many occasions they are role models.
Also, we must bear in mind that at your age it is very important to feel accepted by the group and this can cause the children to have not very adequate behaviors.
If your child’s group of friends ingests alcoholic substances, all leisure activities will be related to their consumption. If your child has these kinds of friendships, you can try to get to know other people with healthier habits.
On the contrary, if this is not the case and your group of friends invests your time in other activities, your child will do the same and it will not be necessary for us to worry.
4- Do not reinforce the consumption of alcohol in minors
The family is the main socializing agent that the child has since birth, so his example will be internalized and followed in its growth. If we want our son not to consume alcohol or if he does, do it responsibly, our role is indispensable:
- We can not joke about underage drinking.
- Do not give them alcohol.
- Watch for television ads that promote your consumption.
- Provide information to your child about alcohol and its effects.
5- Educate your child in the practice of saying NO
As we have already said on other occasions, social pressure makes us change our mind about a certain object or behavior. It is important that as parents we educate our children so that they are able to stand firm to themselves, on these kinds of occasions.
On the other hand, we also have to educate him to respect other points of view that may even be totally different from his own. Knowing to say “no” will help you face situations that may arise in your group of friends, in this case when they offer to drink alcohol.
6- Make rules about alcohol intake
As parents it is important to establish rules and / or guidelines against alcohol consumption. It is important that they be clear, firm and fair to maintain tranquility within the family nucleus.
But how can we do it? For this, it is advisable to reach agreements within the family, including the minor in the realization of these rules. In this way you will see that they have not been imposed and you will be more receptive to fulfilling them.
7- Encourages social activities in which alcohol is not consumed
Free time is one of the factors that incites adolescents to drink alcohol. Therefore, it is important that we motivate our children to perform other activities that are attractive and fun for them that do not involve this substance.
One idea might be to ask him and his friends about other activities they like to do and encourage them to do it (Martínez, S / F).
Why do teenagers drink uncontrollably?
Adolescence is a stage in which we feel alive and free, capable of doing everything we set out to do.
It could be considered as that time in which we have to experience what life offers us, to rehearse identities, to live outside the family, to want to fit into a group, to be dependent, etc., so that alcohol and Drugs are elements that can arouse the curiosity of some people.
For some it’s just another game, a way to share and enjoy with friends. While for others, it can become a problem and negatively affect aspects of their lives (Marlen, 2006).
According to the results of the study by Armas et al. (2010), it was concluded that adolescents consume alcoholic beverages because, besides liking them, it makes them feel good. This in addition to the above exposed, may encourage the consumption of this substance.
Why should not they drink alcohol?
Adolescents are still in the stage of growth and development, so it is not recommended that they ingest this type of substance. Even if they think so, they do not have enough tolerance to the toxic effects of alcohol as an adult’s body would.
Not only does it affect the physical level, but also at the psychological level since at this stage of age they are still developing, so that addiction to this substance can be created more quickly than in an adult person.
However, the most dangerous effect is undoubtedly that further enhances the tendency of young people to expose themselves to dangerous situations. This coupled with the lack of life experiences and the extreme consumption of alcohol will make them more vulnerable to theft, sexual abuse and other risk situations.
Finally, in addition to the consequences discussed above, its consumption can cause damage, both in the short term and in the long term in adolescents, leading to possible diseases and disorders.
How do I identify if my child has a problem with alcohol?
It is important to know in the family the possible warning signs of this type of problem. Some behaviors may be due to the age stage in which our son is immersed.
However, if these last over time it may be a clear sign that perhaps, you are repeatedly consuming alcohol:
- Changes of personality or character . It is possible that you start lying on many occasions, that you are more irritable of the account, that you discuss easily …
- That I get sick often . You can also get sick more often with digestive problems or even due to psychological problems.
- Come home late . This can be one of the main warning signs, that you always arrive late at home and only leave at night should constantly worry.
- Changes in friendships . It is normal that in the adolescence stage you have many friends and that you prefer some more than others depending on the activities. However, if your child changes friends and does not want you to know them, it is a clear sign of alarm.
- Rebel behavior . If your child does not obey the rules or repeatedly refuses to comply with them, it can be another trigger that something is not right.
- Problems at school . Teachers punish him constantly, miss class, escape from school etc.
- He neglects his hygiene . It may even happen that you stop worrying about your personal hygiene or that you change your appearance noticeably.
We have to point out that all these signs have to be repeated constantly and endure over time. Given the age stage they are in, many factors will appear in their behavior, not necessarily because we have to be alarmed.
Data on adolescent alcohol consumption
According to the World Report on the Situation of Alcohol and Health in 2014, 3.3 million people die every year due to the non-responsible consumption of alcohol.
On the other hand, according to data collected by a survey that was made to high school students in the year 2012-2013 exposed in the newspaper “The World”, alcohol consumption has reached a figure of 84% in boys from 14 to 18 years, which affirm that they have tried it once compared to the 74% that has consumed it in the last month.
The average age of onset remains between 13 and 16 years. This age has risen slightly, since in the previous survey it was 13.9 years old on average compared to the previous 13.7 years.
As fathers and mothers, we need to be informed about alcohol and the negative effects that can have on our son, both physical and mental. On the other hand, this is not enough since we have to promote responsible consumption at home starting with ourselves.
We have to give an example of our behaviors and actions against alcohol since we exercise influence on our children since they are born.
Therefore, acquiring the necessary skills to prevent the consumption of alcohol by our children is now more necessary than ever. As in the case that we had to intervene to solve this problem.