Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol

alcoholPartying, drinking on the weekends, enjoying the teen years, getting a little buzzed—everyone’s doing it.[1] In fact, 75 percent of American teens have tried alcohol by the end of high school, and 37 percent by eighth grade.1

However, it’s not such a good idea. While curiosity accounts for many first drinks, the taste and the way it makes a person feel accounts for its continued use.1 The biggest reason for teen drinking is that it is difficult to withstand the peer pressure of the group you’re with.1 Many see it as a necessity for having a good time.1 It takes a good amount of self-confidence to turn down a drink or switch to soda.1 Many friends joke about the choice—they’re just getting started.1

A teen’s brain is still developing, and is much more sensitive to the negative effects of alcohol.1 Therefore, alcohol abuse during the teen years can lead to negative consequences in brain function, including memory and learning ability.1 These cognitive issues can continue into adulthood.1

Alcohol also affects self-control.1 As it depresses the central nervous system, it impairs judgment and leads to doing not-so-smart things.1 Drinking and driving and having unprotected sex are common for teens who are under the influence.1 In fact, drunk driving kills 4,000 teens per year. They may think they are the exception, that they can handle it, but it’s not true.1 All of the teens who died thought they were the exception, too.1

Some believe that drinking helps them to not feel depressed; however, it actually makes you feel worse.1 The idea of socializing may perk you up a bit, but alcohol is a depressant and reducing brain activity.1 You’ll be feeling even more down in the morning, especially with a hangover.1

Saying “no” to alcohol isn’t weird—it’s courageous.1 You’re using—and protecting—your brain.1 Going against the crowd can be scary, but it’s worth it.1 About 50 percent of teens are constant drinkers—so 50 percent are not.1 Decide where you stand—against it.

[1] Hartwell-Walker, M. (2013). Talking to Your Teen About Alcohol. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/talking-to-your-teen-about-alcohol/00018117

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