That is a very tough question for a lot of adults when trying to understand teens. There are many reason why teens are drinking, — they want to fit in socially, they like the feeling alcohol gives them, or they are having some kind of trouble. We teens are risk takers, we like the adrenaline rush our body gets when we are being rebellious. Teens are more likely to drink when they are at a stage in their life where they don’t consider what is going to happen in the future.
This reminds me of a time when I went to a party. There were older people there and they were way past the point of drunk. They were getting drunk by holding the mouth of a bottle of alcohol against their eye socket — so, every time they opened their eyes, alcohol would absorb into their eye and surrounding membranes. This was a shocking experience to me — taking drinking to a level of seriously hurting your body. Why would you do that?
In my opinion, a major reason is why a lot of teens drink is the feeling of being powerless — having problems in their lives that they feel they have no power to change. Family problems can also create a greater risk for most teens to drink because they might not feel connected to their parents. A teen might also have an emotional or mental issue that has not been addressed. Peer pressure is huge, too — when teens have friends that influence them in any way to drink, the inner self-battle begins.
There are thousands of other reasons why teens drink, but there are also thousands of ways to prevent teen drinking.
Talking about alcohol with your teen is just as valuable as having “The Talk”. If you don’t know how to talk about alcohol issue with your kids, there are valuable resources to help you.
- Time To Talk provides easy-to-use guides and tips to help you have ongoing conversations with your kids to keep them healthy and drug-free.
- College Drinking Prevention has a useful page about how to talk to your child about alcohol.
- Talk with your Kids has lots of information and guidelines for communicating with youth about hard issues.
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has downloadable factsheets and brochures about youth and alcohol.
Contact Straight Up if you have any questions or comments.
Mario Apolinar is 18 and has just started college in Ventura County.