How to Recognize When Children are Drinking
As much as parents may not like to think about it, the truth is that many kids and teens try alcohol during
their high school and college years, long before it is legal for them to drink it.
Some research has shown that nearly 80% of high school kids have tried alcohol. Although experimentation with
alcohol may be common among kids, it is not safe or legal.
To help prevent alcohol abuse in children, it is a good idea to begin discussing alcohol use and abuse with kids
at an early age and to continue openly communicating about it as they grow up.
Times of transition such as puberty, changing schools, and parental divorce can lead children to try alcohol in
an effort to escape from the intense feelings that they are having.
It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children that life does bring difficult times but using
alcohol to deal with the challenges of life only makes things worse.
Children with low self-esteem are more likely to try alcohol to deal with problems because they do not believe
that they are capable of dealing with challenges in a successful manner.
Children who have a hard time believing in themselves need extra assurance and support from their parents.
Children who do not have good relationships with their families and who feel disconnected in some way need to
have support from some adults or they will be more likely to turn to alcohol.
Research has shown that the number one reason children give for not turning to alcohol is the desire not to ruin
the relationships they have with the adults around them.
Generally, there is a lot a parent can do to keep their children from using and abusing alcohol.
The first and possible most important is to be a good role model. It does not matter what parents verbally teach
their children because their actions will speak much louder than their words. Children are much more likely to
repeat their parents' actions than their verbal instructions.
Secondly, parents need to educate themselves about alcohol and the current trends regarding children so they can
better help their own children anticipate situations when alcohol will be tempting but is not feasible.
Thirdly, as mentioned before, it is extremely important for parents to do everything in their power to give
their children a strong sense of self and a high self-esteem. Lastly, parents need to teach their children
how to handle stress.
If children go into difficult situations with an understanding of the proper, ways to handle it they will be
less likely to turn to something like alcohol to make the transition time smoother.
Despite the parent's best efforts, there are times when children choose to try alcohol. Some common warning
* The odor of alcohol
* Change in mood or attitude
* Change in school performance
* Loss of interest in activities the usually enjoy
* Secrecy and withdrawal from family and friends
* Association with a totally new group of friends
Childhood and adolescence is a time of great change and can be extremely confusing for many children.
It is important for parents not to jump to conclusions based on just one or two of the warning signs.
The warning signs will generally come in clusters when children are using alcohol.