Teenagers and alcohol: Why do they drink?

You may agree with many other Louisiana parents who say that raising teenagers is both rewarding and greatly challenging at the same time. If you have more than one teenager in your family at this time, you may feel an increase of such challenges and, hopefully, of the rewards as well. It's no secret that a lot of the teenage population in the United States have been getting into trouble in recent years.  

From online bullying, suicide and other heavy social issues, kids today face a lot more stress and peer pressure than was typical for teenagers long ago. It has definitely taken its toll, and if your son or daughter is in trouble with the law, you understand just how difficult such situations can be. Another major problem among teens is underage drinking.  

Why do they do it? 

You'd hope that if your kids know something is illegal, they will avoid participating in it. That's not always how things go, however. There are many reasons teenagers choose to imbibe, and several issues commonly cited in teen surveys are included in the following list:  

  • Younger people often say that drinking alcohol makes them feel more grown up. Most teenagers say they can't wait to be 21; regarding alcohol, some decide to try it before legally permitted to do so. 
  • Peer pressure affects all aspects of life for most teenagers nowadays. Some say they'd rather give in and drink than risk bullying or feeling insecure or humiliated among their peers. 
  • Not every teenager who drinks has done so because of peer pressure. In fact, many juveniles say they were simply curious about how alcohol tastes and what it would make them feel like. 
  • Boredom appears to rank high on most lists of reasons teenagers drink alcohol. Current data shows kids who drink because they are bored might be at high risk for addictions. 
  • Some teenagers know enough about the potential effects of alcohol that they use it to try to numb their own emotional pain or to escape life's problems. 
  • There are also many teens who know that drinking underage is illegal and whose parents have told them not to do it, but they have rebellious personalities and want to challenge authority.  

If your son or daughter falls under one or more of these categories, it does not mean he or she is a bad kid. It also doesn't mean you are a bad parent. Life is tough, and parents today encounter many problems regarding alcohol and drugs that can throw their family lives way off-track. If you get a call saying police have arrested your child, don't panic. There are juvenile advocates available who can provide support.

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