Help Your Teen Avoid
Becoming An Alcoholic
The first tool you need to give your teen is knowledge.
Teens need to understand about drinking alcohol, about peer pressure and about saying NO.
You may not be able to control everything they do, but you can give them the tools to make decisions with. If
they lack these tools, their decisions will be made without knowledge, by bending to pressure and through fear of
The second tool you need to provide is concerning Peer Pressure what it is, how to deal with it and still keep
your dignity and friends. The third tool is, to show your teen how to say NO.
You do not need to be a super parent or caring adult either, just one how can ask for help when you need help
gathering tools and information for yourself and for your teen.
Many organizations exist to help teens and their parents to understand about alcohol and the diseases that
drinking alcohol can lead to such as Alcoholism. As with any topic, adults should check out all resources first,
before giving them to their sons and daughters.
Tool #1 Here are a few online resources to get you started gathering help and information:
http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/ Alateen is a part of the organization Al-anon. The Website is set up in English,
Spanish and French. Alateen has been helping teens for more than 50 years. http://teens.drugabuse.gov/ National
Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a Website specifically set up to answer questions teens have about drinking and
drug abuse. Dr. Nida will answer questions teens have as they grapple with the decision to take non-prescription
drugs and alcohol. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov This is the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholisms
You will find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about alcohol, as well as up-to-date information on the very
latest research concerning alcohol abuse and the disease known as alcoholism. There are many good books that you
can find in local bookstores, online retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Here are just a few ideas of
titles to search for: Buzz: A Graphic Reality Check for Teens Dealing With Drugs and Alcohol by Marcus Brotherton
Alcohol 101 by Margaret Hyde Teens & Alcohol (Gallup Youth Survey: Major Issues and Trends) by Gail Snyder
Tool #2 Understanding how peer pressure can help or hurt us when we are faced with a
decision is a very critical tool to have at any age.
First the definition: Your peers are others who are in your same age group. Peer pressure is when you feel like
you are being pushed into making a decision. The decision can have good results or bad results for you.
The pressure can go both ways. Deciding if you are being pressured and if it is a good thing or not can be
Your peers are others who are in your same age group. We all deal with peer pressure, kids, teens and
What makes dealing with teen peer pressure a critical issue is that at this age, your children will be grappling
with some very major issues in life at the same time that they are dealing with puberty and the opposite sex.
The combination can leave your teen very confused and looking for the easy way out, or be pressured into making
decisions that they would not otherwise make.
You may feel anxious, sad, fearful, uncertain, nervous, disappointed over your inability to make a choice.
These feelings are normal and are what makes peer pressure successful at persuading people to do things they may
or may not do on there own.
Teens especially bend to peer pressure because they need to fit into a group, or need to feel cool or respected
by their peers. Peers often feel like respect equals conformity to the norms of the current fads and rituals.
Did You Know
The problems that come from being raised by an alcoholic are generally
environmental and with a lot of hard work can be overcome.
Generally, when a child is raised around alcohol and excessive drinking there is a
tendency for that child to use alcohol as adults.
Many times children grow up and conduct themselves and their families in a way that
is very similar to the way they were raised. It takes a conscious effort to "break the cycle" of
addiction that they have witnessed and not carry on that same lifestyle to their children.
The problems that are genetic are more difficult to overcome but once the child is
aware that her or she will have a tendency toward addiction they can change the way they deal with
stress and other risk factors to help avoid alcoholism.
A gene can determine whether a person will have a tendency toward an addiction
In addition, there are personality and mental health examinations that can be done
that can let a person know if they are at risk of being an addict.
Professional addiction counselors recommend that if a person has the gene or tests
positive on the examinations they should abstain from the use of alcohol.
The genetic push toward addiction is so strong that to tempt the body by using
addictive substances is considered risky behavior and should not be attempted.
Tool #3 Everyone has the right to say no to something or someone that is doing or asking
you to do something that may be harmful to you.
Learning how to be assertive when saying no is especially important for teen to learn how to do.
They are often in situations where saying no may be not cool or even get them into trouble.
Having friends who have similar value systems can be very helpful to your teen.
Don’t be ashamed, don’t place blame, don’t ignore the problem, don’t try to solve the
problem alone, don’t try to reason with a drunk person, and don’t get into the car with a
driver who has been drinking.
They will help your teen to be strong, feel like they are part of a group and give them support against the
pressures that teens face.
Teens should practice saying NO with authority. Here are some suggestions: I (we) dont want to drink I (we) can
have fun without drinking alcohol Just say no thanks and walk away (lingering or staying around will increase