Teenagers drink for various reasons. Parents may get frustrated or feel overwhelmed when they find out their teenager has been drinking. Parents may chalk it up to good 'ole rebellion. However, there are many reasons teenagers drink and some can be quite serious. It is important to deal with the root causes of WHY your teenager is drinking to help them stop and avoid it in the future.
Rebellion. Although rebellion isn't the ONLY reason a teen will drink. It definitely can be a factor. Some teenagers want to push their boundaries-- especially if the teen is experience a life event in their family that leaves them feeling out of control i.e. divorce, house move, school move, death in the family. The important things to remember is--if you can figure out the trigger for the need to be rebellious than you can usually help your teen through this issue instead of them acting out.
Peer Pressure. Teenagers can feel powerless when it comes to peer pressure. It is often very difficult for them to make their own decisions when their peers pressure them to drink alcohol. Their friends may call them names, make fun of them, or make them feel excluded from the group if they do not engage in alcohol use. It is important to empower your teen by discussing the reasons they may be feeling peer pressured. It's best to have these conversations preemptively, but better late than never.
Confidence. Some teenagers have issues with self-confidence and self-worth. They may be using alcohol to self-medicate. Alcohol becomes a way to not have to emotionally digest certain issues going on in their life. Drinking could be a way of escape and a way to have “liquid confidence” when they cannot seem to have it sober. It is important to deal with this issue it can quickly turn into adult alcoholism if they do not learn how to appropriately deal with their emotions and process different feelings.
It is vital to talk with your teen to determine why your teen began drinking in the first place. It is also important to talk with them about these different issues BEFORE you even notice them struggling in these areas. If you can help them identify the area of WHY they drank or want to drink then you can help them not only avoid the harmful effects of drinking, but help them to become more emotionally healthy.
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.