When it comes to drinking in the home, parents set their own ground rules regarding how alcohol is consumed, if at all, especially by their children. For teens, the bottom line remains that they are still legally not permitted to be drinking. A teen that is driving a car and is caught under the influence of alcohol, for instance, will face additional consequences due to being underage. Not only are there legal consequences to underage drinking but there are also physical and mental consequences too. Unfortunately, while many parents understand the dangers attached to teen drinking, some do not.
Myths vs. facts
Parents often yield to a number of myths about underage drinking in a home setting. Thankfully there is a web resource that is provided by the Treatment Research Institute that provides parents with needed information to learn about the penalties for providing alcohol to teens and debunk some of these common myths. A few different myths many parents may fall prey to include the following:
1. The teen will be better prepared to handle drinking when he or she gets older if they are able to drink in the home – The truth is that the risk of abusing alcohol later as an adult is actually higher is they start at an early age.
2. Europeans often drink at an earlier age for cultural reasons and are less likely to abuse the substance because of this – In reality, not only do a higher number of young people in Europe report drinking regularly but a higher percentage also report getting intoxicated before even reaching the age of 13.
3. If parents are too strict about not letting their teens drink, then the teen will be more likely to drink at greater levels when they first move away from home – Once again the opposite is true here; according to research teens whose parents are seen as more permissive with underage drinking are more likely to abuse it and other substances.
4. Parents who serve alcohol to teens in the home won’t face legal consequences – Most states nationwide do have laws regarding the consumption of alcohol to those who are underage in the home.
Talking to teens about alcohol
At some point, parents will want to talk with their teens about the dangers of drinking alcohol and the sooner, the better. The parents can explain why they do not want their teen to drink and to be clear about expectations. For instance, parents can discuss the legal troubles that could result if the teen is under the influence of alcohol or the physical and mental repercussions that could occur should the teen engage in heavy drinking. Likewise it can be beneficial to warn teens if alcoholism is hereditary in the family and discuss the consequences of alcohol abuse with them
Perhaps the strongest message imparted on a teen is the example that a parent or guardian sets for the young person. If a parent chooses to drink, this should be done so in moderation to exhibit self-control. Parents should never drink before they drive, especially in the presence of their teen not only for the example that is sets but also for the danger it could put both parties in.
Likewise, parents can also emphasize other positive alternatives to drinking alcohol. This can include sports, art, playing a musical instrument and more. At the same time, parents will want to properly prepare their teens for the real world and which will include detailing methods of responsible drinking along with what to do if one is dealing with alcohol abuse or addiction.
At White River Academy, teens can learn more about becoming happy, healthy adults though our treatment programs for alcohol dependence. If your teen is struggling with substance abuse, mental health disorders or co-occurring conditions you can contact our a member of our team at 866-520-0905 and get help today.