Adolescence is a time of great change and often confusing, which makes it a challenging time for both young people and their parents. Understanding what it is like to be a teenager will help parents stay closer to their children and have more influence over the decisions they make, including when to consume alcohol.
Changes in the brain Studies have shown that, as a young man matures, his brain continues to develop. In fact, the brain does not fully develop until well into the twenties. In addition, in some way, it is possible that an adolescent’s brain is specifically “programmed” to help him navigate the adolescent stage and take certain risks necessary to achieve independence from his parents. This may explain why teens commonly seek out new, challenging, and sometimes dangerous situations, including the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Additionally, it may be the reason that teens act so impulsively, often without acknowledging that their actions — such as consuming alcoholic beverages — can lead to serious problems.
Grow and be accepted. As children approach adolescence, being accepted becomes extremely important. They begin to be more aware of their bodies and begin to wonder if their image is “good enough” – tall enough, thin enough, attractive enough – compared to other teens. They look to their friends and the media for clues that will lead them to be accepted, and they begin to question adult values and rules. Not surprisingly, then, this is the time when parent-child conflicts often begin. Respecting children’s growing independence while continuing to support and impose limits on them is a great challenge during this stage.
A young teenager who feels unaccepted is more likely to do things to try to please friends, including experimenting with alcohol. During this period of great vulnerability, it is particularly important for parents to let their children know that they are accepted and deeply loved.
With so many drugs available to young people these days, you may wonder, “Why to publish a brochure to help them avoid alcohol use?” Alcohol is a drug, as cocaine and marijuana certainly are. It is also illegal and dangerous to drink before the age of 21. Young people who drink are more likely to:
- Being victims of violent crime.
- Having serious problems at school.
- Being involved in drinking-related traffic accidents.
This guide is intended for parents and guardians of youth between the ages of 10 and 14. Remember that the suggestions presented on the following pages are just that, suggestions. Trust your instincts. Go for ideas that you are comfortable with and use your own style to carry out the proposals that you find useful. Your children look to you for guidance and support in making decisions in life, including not using alcohol.
You may be thinking, “But my kids still don’t drink. Isn’t it a bit premature to worry about drinking? ” No way. This is the age at which some children begin to experiment with alcohol. Even if your kids aren’t consuming alcohol yet, they may be under pressure to do so. Act now. Failure to speak up can leave them, feeling that it is okay for them to drink alcohol.
Is not easy. As children approach adolescence, friends are influential. Feeling accepted is a top priority for teens, and parents often feel displaced. Still, the children will listen. Different studies show that, even during adolescence, parents greatly influence the behavior of their children.
In conclusion, most teens still don’t drink. And the disapproval of alcohol consumption in youth by parents is the main reason why children decide to reject drinking. So make no mistake, you can make a difference.