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Alcohol is a powerful drug that slows down the body and mind. 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. Research shows that teens are much more likely to delay drinking when they feel they have a close, supportive tie with a parent or guardian.

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Ask open-ended questions. You might begin by finding out what your child thinks about alcohol and drinking. That according to a recent national survey, 16 percent of eighth graders reported drinking alcohol within the past month? Note: This booklet uses a variety of terms to refer to young people ages 10 to 14, including youngsters, children, kids, and young teens. Important Facts About Alcohol. Most young teens are aware that many people drink without problems, so it is important to discuss the consequences of alcohol use without overstating the case.

Good Reasons Not to Drink.

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Some good reasons why teens should not drink:. Kids will listen, however. Because alcohol use under the age of 21 is illegal, getting caught may mean trouble with the authorities. Alcohol-related traffic crashes are a major cause of death among young people. As a result:. That means many individuals who drive after drinking think they can control a car—but actually cannot. Your young teen may try to dodge the discussion, and you yourself may feel unsure about how to proceed.

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Research shows that as matures, his or her brain continues to develop too. Your child looks to you for guidance and support in making life decisions—including the decision not to use alcohol. Understand that your child is growing up. Developing open, trusting communication between you and your child is essential to helping him or her avoid alcohol use.

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One of the leading causes of teen deaths is motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol. Kids who drink are more likely to:. For young people, alcohol is the drug of choice.

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Teens also are likely to pay attention to examples of how alcohol might lead to embarrassing situations or events—things that might damage their self-respect or alter important relationships. As children approach adolescence, friends exert a lot of influence. If one or more members of your family has suffered from alcoholism, your child may be somewhat more vulnerable to developing a drinking problem.

Listen carefully without interrupting. The majority of boys and girls who drink tend to binge 5 or more drinks on an occasion for boys and 4 or more on an occasion for girls when they drink. Ask your young teen what he or she knows about alcohol and what he or she thinks about teen drinking.

To make the most of your conversation, take some time to think about the issues you want to discuss before you talk with your. Choose ideas you are comfortable with, and use your own style in chat out the approaches you find useful. Think of this talk with your child as the first part of an ongoing conversation. Fitting in is a youth priority for teens, and parents often feel shoved aside.


Teens say the best way to persuade them to avoid alcohol is to appeal to their self-respect—let them know that they are too smart and have too much going for them to need the crutch of alcohol. In fact, alcohol is used by more young people than tobacco or illicit drugs. Young people who drink are more likely than others to be victims of violent crime, including rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.

Some ways to begin:. First, when children have a strong bond with a parent, they are apt to feel good about themselves and therefore be less likely to give in to peer pressure to use alcohol.

Starting the discussion

Early adolescence is a time of immense and often confusing changes for your son or daughter, which makes it a challenging time for both your youngster and you. Make sure your teen knows that you appreciate his or her efforts as well as accomplishments.

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People tend to be very bad at chat how seriously alcohol has affected them. It also youths a possible reason for why young teens act so impulsively, often not recognizing that their actions—such as drinking—can lead to serious problems. Drinking is illegal. Encourage your child to talk about whatever interests him or her. Even if your child is not yet drinking alcohol, he or she may be receiving pressure to drink. So make no mistake: You can make a difference. Although most children under age 14 have not yet begun to drink, early adolescence is a time of special risk for beginning to experiment with alcohol.

Your values and attitudes count with your child, even though he or she may not always show it. Avoid hurtful teasing or criticism. Teens who use alcohol are more likely to be sexually active at earlier ages, to have sexual intercourse more often, and to have unprotected sex than teens who do not drink. Here are some important facts to share:. Some activities to share: a walk, a bike ride, a quiet dinner out, or a cookie-baking session.

Establish appropriate consequences for breaking rules and consistently enforce them. Establish chat communication. Make it a point to regularly spend one-on-one youth with your child—time when you can give him or her your loving, undivided attention.

Keeping the parent-child relationship strong during a tricky age

Alcohol affects young people differently than adults. Ask your child why he or she thinks kids drink. Drinking also makes a young person more vulnerable to sexual assault and unprotected sex.

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This is the age when some children begin experimenting with alcohol. The message is clear: Alcohol use is very risky business for young people.

The messages they get

To maintain self-respect. Offer acceptance. A ounce can of beer about 5 percent alcohola 5-ounce glass of wine about 12 percent alcoholand 1. Second, a good relationship with you is likely to encourage your children to try to live up to your expectations, because they want to maintain their close tie with you.

Drinking can be dangerous. But the fact is, the best way to influence your child to avoid drinking is to have a strong, trusting relationship with him or her.

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The opposite also is true: When the youth between a parent and teen is full of conflict or is very distant, the teen is more likely to use alcohol and to develop drinking-related problems. You want your child to avoid chat. Control your emotions. Make it easy for your teen to talk honestly with you. If you need alcohol treatment while practicing physical distancing, there are several professionally led treatment and mutual-support group options available to you. This guide is geared to parents and guardians of young people ages 10 to Keep in mind that the suggestions on the following s are just that—suggestions.

Alcohol use also is linked with teen deaths by drowning, suicide, and homicide. For many parents, bringing up the subject of alcohol is no easy matter. Trust your instincts. And the longer children delay alcohol use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it.

Instead, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge your feelings in a constructive youth. Act now. Draw the line. Even though young teens may not always show it, they still need to know that they are important to their parents. Here are some ways to build a strong, supportive bond with your child:.

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And remember, do make it a conversation, not a lecture! Encourage conversation. You have a family history of alcoholism. Changes in the Brain. Listen without interruption and give your child a chance to teach you something new. Show you care. In talking with your child about reasons to avoid alcohol, stay away from scare tactics. Although many kids believe that they already know everything about alcohol, myths and misinformation abound.

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This may help explain why teens often seek out new and thrilling—sometimes dangerous—situations, including drinking alcohol. A person 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.

Growing Up and Fitting In. During this vulnerable time, it is particularly important to let your children know that in your eyes, they do measure up—and that you care about them deeply. Drinking while the brain is still maturing may lead to long-lasting chat effects and may even increase the likelihood of developing youth dependence later in life. Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems. Moreover, if your son or daughter eventually does begin to drink, a good relationship with you will help protect him or her from developing alcohol-related problems.

It impairs coordination; slows reaction time; and impairs vision, clear thinking, and judgment.