Parenting teenagers is one of the most challenging tasks because of the physical, emotional and hormonal changes these children experience as they move towards adolescence. Not only are teenagers considerably harder to monitor, they can take to outside influences quite strongly and be very stubborn in their approach. One of the major problems parents face with teenagers is drinking, which can severely affect their development and harm their health. The first step towards dealing with teenage alcohol abuse is identifying the factors which lead to teenage drinking.
Favorable media portrayal
The media has become one of the strongest influencing powers of this age and has a strong grasp on today’s youth. Unfortunately, it is common for movies and music to depict drinking in a stylistic manner and as something fun to do – which in turn leads teenagers to try it out. The ESRB rates most movies and music according to content and you should monitor the kind of media your teenager consumes. It is also recommended that you intimate your teenagers with the dangers and harmful effects of drinking and drug use beforehand.
Friends and peer pressure
A teenager’s circle of friends has a big hand in the habits he/she takes up. If your teenager has several friends who drink, they might also try it out in order to fit in with the crowd or to appear independent and confident. While you may find it impossible to control your teenager’s friends, you can encourage him/her to invite them over to your place and hangout with them so that you can get to know them and monitor their activities. You should also try and get your teenager to talk to you without hesitation and share his/her thoughts and daily incidents so that you can identify signs of trouble early on
Another major reason behind teenagers resorting to drinking is depression. Emotional issues at this age can be quite overwhelming, especially given how teenagers are not emotionally mature and are also experiencing hormonal changes. Mood swings and disorders are also common among teenagers and parents should keep an eye out for any signs that indicate emotional trouble.
Atmosphere at home
Parents serve as role models for children, especially teenagers, who are more observant and aware. If the atmosphere at home is conducive to drinking or taking up other bad habits, teenagers are more likely to indulge in such activities. For instance, if parents at home regularly drink, the children consider it something acceptable and normal, and easily give in. On the other hand, if the atmosphere at home is negative or if the parents are negligent towards the needs of their children, they become more receptive to outside influences and are likely to take up drinking or drug use.
Addictive nature of alcohol
If your teenager has been consuming alcohol and drinking regularly with friends etc, his/her body slowly builds up tolerance, which means the amount of alcohol intake increases with time. If you pay no attention to the signs and symptoms of drinking problems you might well find out at a stage when your teenager is addicted to alcohol and it becomes a regular part of his/her life. If this is the case, you should immediately seek professional help and counseling.