The reality of binge drinking
Did you know that about 90% of the alcohol consumed by high school students is consumed through binge drinking?
Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks for females and five or more drinks for males; as you can imagine, binge drinking is damaging for anyone, but especially for teens. The human brain does not fully develop until we are in our twenties and alcohol can impair development; in fact, MRI scans of the brains of teens who drank heavily showed damaged nerve tissue compared to those who did not.
By binge drinking, teens are increasing their chance of suffering from the consequences of underage drinking, so why are they doing it and what can you do?
Why teens binge drink and how to prevent it
There is no way to know why any given teen chooses to binge drink, but the following are common reasons and how you can respond.
Reason: “I was bored.”
Response: Boredom can make us all do some dumb things, so help your teen stay busy. Have your teen get involved in something outside of school whether it is volunteering, a part-time job, sports or a hobby group.
Also, encourage your teen to invite friends over to your home and offer them fun ways to stay busy (and out of trouble).
Reason: “Everyone else does it.”
Response: This is not true. In fact, most high school students don’t drink alcohol. To be exact, three out of four high school students don’t drink alcohol. Tell your teen about our Give Yourself a Chance Facebook Page. It is a place for teens to come together and support each other’s decision to avoid underage drinking. There is plenty of motivation on the page to help teens understand that being like everyone else is overrated. Being yourself is more important.
Reason: “My parents do it so it must not be a big deal.”
Response: Never forget how much your actions influence your children. If you drink in front of your children, do it responsibly and explain to them why it is OK for adults to drink.
There are plenty of different things you can do to prevent underage drinking, just don’t avoid the subject. Teens look to their parents for guidance and support; make sure you are giving it to them so they don’t turn to unreliable sources for guidance and support.