Am I missing something? I am surrounded by a trend in parents turning their head or even worst, making alcohol accessible to their teens. I keep hearing “they are going to do it anyway, at least this way I know they are in my home.” This seems crazy to me, but now I am questioning if maybe I am doing something wrong as a parent.
Dear Confused Mama,
Turning your head to your teen’s alcohol use or providing social accessibility to it is unhealthy. Research tells us that there is a direct correlation between age of first use and addiction. The younger someone is when they begin to consume alcohol, the greater the likelihood they will develop alcohol dependency. Alcohol use can impact brain development, which is typically not complete until 25. Alcohol use impairs judgment and leaves teens at greater risk for injury, becoming the victim of a traumatic event, mental health challenges and legal charges. Although parents may have good intentions with allowing alcohol use, the risks dramatically outweigh the rewards for all involved. There is no such thing as “I let my teen drink and they learned how to do it safely.” Study after study assures us of that.
Maintain consistent boundaries and expectations involving alcohol and your teen. Educate them on how alcohol impacts your nervous system from the very fist sip. Help them understand the potential consequences. Assist them with creating a risk reduction action plan that allows them to connect socially with their peers without engaging in alcohol use or putting themselves in danger.
Tatiana Matthews LPC
Atlanta Specialized Care
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