Drinking by individuals under the age of 21 is a major health problem in our country. Alcohol is the most widely consumed drug among youth in the United States. Just listen to these numbers: even though alcohol drinking is
illegal for those under the age of 21- those between the ages of 12-20 drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the U.S. Various figures are cited in a number of surveys but they are remarkable similar and therefore likely to be valid. The median age at which teens begin drinking is 16 and approximately 48% of high school seniors report that they have consumed alcohol during the past 30 days. Much of this alcohol is unfortunately consumed by binge drinking. Multiple emergency room visits by teens are due to injuries and other health issues linked to alcohol consumption. YIKES. We certainly do have a major problem, agreed?
The next issue is what we can do as parents to reduce the risk of underage drinking among our teens. As usual, I have some suggestions:
1. Set a good example for your teens. If you are role-modeling excessive drinking this will not be lost on them.
2. Make sure that your teens know what your expectations are regarding teen drinking. Discuss clear rules and consequences with them.
3. Do not supply alcohol to your teens and do NOT bring the party to your home. This gives the message that you approve of underage drinking.
4. Give careful consideration to where you keep alcohol in your home ,if any, and monitor how much you have on hand. You want to make sure that your teens are not accessing it.
5. If you are concerned about unsupervised parties that your teen is invited to you do have the option to say no. Remember it is more important to be afraid of losing your teen than their love(temporarily).
6. Set curfews. Nothing good is likely to happen after a certain hour.