Alcohol is the most abused substance by teens in the U.S. If you think that your teen is immune to the urges to try drinking, you’re kidding yourself, and that’s dangerous. You need to be aware of the teenage drinking statistics and know what to do if you suspect that your teen is drinking. Alcohol is never safe for an underage drinker, and if you ignore the issue, your teen could suffer the consequences.
Teen Drinking: Know the Facts
For teens, drug and alcohol statistics are not surprising. For parents, they are alarming. Nearly one-third of eighth-graders have tried drinking. More than half of high school sophomores have, and nearly three-quarters of high school seniors are drinking. This means that if your child is in high school and not drinking, he is in the minority. It’s a scary thought, but true: most teens drink. Even more frightening are the rest of the statistics:
- Almost one-quarter of high school seniors binge drink, meaning they have more than five drinks in a row.
- 24% of high school students have been passengers with a drunk driver.
- 8% of teens admit to driving while under the influence.
- Teens who drink are more likely to try drugs.
- Teens who drink are more likely to attempt suicide.
Peer Pressure and Drinking
If you think that your teen is too smart to drink, you are underestimating the power of peer pressure. The cases of substance abuse as a result of peer pressure are numerous. Even the most level-headed and successful young student may bow to the pressure of friends. This is especially true when the perception is that everyone else is doing it and that drinking is low-risk.
Talking to Your Teen About Drinking
It’s not always easy to know if your teen is drinking. Unless you catch her drunk or smelling of alcohol, you may never know that she has tried drinking. If she is drinking a lot, however, you may notice signs like odd changes in her behavior or her grades slipping at school. She may miss extracurricular events or drop them. Any changes like these should be cause for concern. Whether you see any signs of drinking, it’s important that you talk to your teen about alcohol. Teens whose parents discuss this with them are likely to make better choices. Make sure your teen understands that there are serious risks associated with drinking, from accidents to assaults to health problems and academic or legal consequences. Teens don’t always realize the dangers, particularly those associated with an activity that is perceived to be normal or typical. Teen alcohol abuse and drug use statistics indicate that most teens are experimenting with alcohol. This fact should trouble you, but you have the power to protect your teen from the harm caused by drinking. Talk to her, know who her friends are, be aware of how she spends her time and monitor her behavior. When you are involved in your child’s life, you can intervene when it really matters and protect her from the dangers of drinking.