Raising a teenager is hard enough, you shouldn’t have to worry about alcoholism. Unfortunately, many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and marijuana are two of the more common drugs used by teenagers throughout high school. Teens start drinking for a variety of reasons, often because of peer pressure or to cope with experienced trauma or mental illness.
It’s completely normal to be concerned about your teenager and their drinking habits. Many teens will experiment with alcohol at least once during high school. This study suggests that 24.6% of teenagers aged 14-15 reported having at least one drink, and 7 million people ages 12-20 reported that they had more than “just a few sips” in 2019.
The same study suggests that teens are also more likely to engage in binge drinking, meaning that they consume more than average in any one sitting. This is because they don’t have constant access to alcohol and tend to consume more at parties and gatherings where alcohol is present. Binge drinking is concerning, and you should speak to your teen if you believe they’re engaging in it.
Warning Signs that Your Teenager Might be Drinking
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your teenager is drinking or not. Sometimes keeping the closest eye on them isn’t entirely possible, and you have to trust that they’re not doing anything. Unfortunately, sometimes teenagers surprise their parents. Many parents are often shocked to discover that their child has gotten drunk.
Here are a few warning signs that can help you establish whether or not your teenager has been drinking:
- Changes in behavior
- Lying or making excuses
- Hanging out with a new friend group
- Personality changes
- Worsening grades
To recognize these behaviors, make sure you’re keeping an open line of communication with your children. If they start to act differently or they seem off, you might want to ask them what’s going on.
Should I Be Worried About My Teen’s Drinking Habits?
There’s a big difference between a teenager who tries alcohol once and a teenager who struggles with alcoholism. We understand how hard it can be to keep tabs on your teenager without seeming overbearing or not allowing a line of trust. Honestly, it’s a hard line to walk, but if you fear that something might be going on or that they might be engaging with alcohol on a frequent basis, it’s time to step in.
In any case, you should always be concerned about your teenager drinking alcohol. There’s a reason why the legal drinking age is 21. Teens who drink too much put themselves at a higher risk of developing an addiction later in life, as well as stunting their mental growth permanently. It’s important to talk to your child about drinking in order to establish rules.
How to Talk to Your Teenager About Alcohol
While no teenager should be drinking, sometimes it can be hard to force a teenager to listen to your rules. If your teen is going to drink and you feel that there’s nothing you can do to stop it from happening, you should have a conversation with them about drinking safely. Warn them about consuming alcohol in large amounts and make sure they’re prepared with a ride home, preventing them from drinking and driving.
Of course, in a perfect world, your teen wouldn’t drink at all. And while they may still feel the need to sneak a drink every once and a while, hopefully talking and keeping an open line of communication will encourage them not to drink at all.
Seek Treatment for Alcoholism for Your Teenager
When you can’t get your teenager to stop drinking and you fear that they’re struggling with alcoholism, it’s time to intervene. Contact Asheville Recovery Center today to learn more about our treatment options for teenagers.