What Every Parent Should Know About the Risks of Teens Who Drink and Drug
my husband tells me one more time that boys will be boys, Im going to
scream! My fifteen-year old son is drinking. Although I cant prove it, theres
little doubt in my mind. Six weeks ago we had a party so I restocked the bar. Im
almost positive that theres a case of beer and a bottle of vodka unaccounted for.
Last week, while doing yard work in the backyard, I found empty beer bottles discarded in
the bushes. In thinking about this, I realized that my son has become much more evasive,
almost secretive about where he goes and with whom he goes. Where once he was punctual and
dependable, lately his behavior has become erraticsleeping later than usual, staying
out later than hes supposed to, skipping classes at school. Last night he came
home an hour late. When I questioned him, he seemed to be slurring his words and I thought
I could smell alcohol on his breath despite the cinnamon gum he was chewing. Whenever I
express my suspicions to his father, all I get is a proud smirk, a litany of his own war
stories from when my husband was fifteen, and the almost boastful assertion that
boys will be boys. Well, I dont buy it. I think its dangerous and
I dont want to hear anymore about what boys do. Can you give me some information
that might persuade my husband to take this matter more seriously than he currently is?
You have every reason to be concerned. Your son is involved in
risky behavior that may have serious consequences. For young people, alcohol is the number
one drug of choice. In fact, teens use alcohol more frequently and heavily than all other
illicit drugs combined. Although most children age 10-14 have not yet begun to drink,
early adolescence is a time of special risk for beginning to experiment with alcohol.
$12-million study by NIAAA offers scientific validation that young people who began
drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who
began drinking at age 21. More than 40 percent of respondents who began drinking before
age 15 were classified with alcohol dependence at some time in their lives compared with
24.5 percent for respondents who began drinking at age 17 and about 10 percent for those
who began drinking at age 21 and 22. The study also found that the risk of developing
alcohol abuse (a maladaptive drinking pattern that repeatedly causes life problems) more
than doubled for persons who began drinking before age 15 compared with those who began
drinking at age 21. The study, which sampled 43,000 people, documents that the risk for
alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse decreases steadily and significantly with each
increasing year of age of drinking onset.
some parents may feel relieved that their teen is only drinking, its
important to remember that alcohol is a powerful mood-altering drug. Not only does alcohol
affect the mind and body in often unpredictable ways, but teens lack the judgment and
coping skills to handle alcohol wisely. As a result:
Alcohol-related traffic accidents are a major cause of death and disability among teens.
Alcohol use also is linked with youthful deaths followed by drowning, fire, suicide, and
2.) Teens who use alcohol are more likely to become sexually active at earlier ages, to
have sexual intercourse more often, and to have unprotected sex than teens who do not
3.) Young people who drink are more likely than others to be victims of violent crime,
including rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.
4.) Teens who drink are more likely to have problems with school work and school conduct.
5.) An individual who begins drinking as a young teen is four times more likely to develop
alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to use alcohol.
Your husband needs to understand that your sons alcohol
use is very risky. The longer an adolescent delays alcohol use, the less likely they are
to develop any problems associated with alcohol use.
Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact
on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn
how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to
Read Dr. Steve Frischs, Psy.D. series of Recovery books, From Insanity to Serenity.
These books focus on chemical dependency, how to raise alcohol and other drugs free
children, and Recovery for both the chemically dependent individual and their friends and
Fact Sheets about How to Raise an Alcohol and Drug-Free Child
3.) Read Fact Sheets about Information
About Alcohol and Other Drugs
4.) Read the
Fact Sheet, Referrals
5.) Read Fact
Sheet, Warning Signs of Alcohol and Other Drugs Abuse
Entering the World of Your Child: How to Nurture Your Childs Spirit by Dr.
Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
7.) Read A Parents
Guide for Protecting Their Children From Alcohol and Other Drugs by Dr. Steve Frisch,
8.) Read But Im Not The One With the Problem: How to Cope With a Loved One Who
Abuses Alcohol and Other Drugs, by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.