IF YOU SUSPECT ALCOHOL USE
Whether you have concrete evidence—alcohol on the breath, bottles in a bedroom—or something more suspicious, like a missing bottle of wine, it's important to act as soon as possible. The earlier the issue is addressed, the better the situation will be.
The following links lead to helpful articles on developing a plan of action, having the "alcohol talk" and combating common arguments.
- » A Plan of Action
- » See It. Say It. A Process In Talking To Your Teen.
- » Practicing Tough Conversations
In addition, it's important to be aware of factors that may increase the risk of teen alcohol use.
- Significant social transitions such as graduating to middle/high school or getting a driver's license
- A history of conduct problems
- Depression and other serious emotional problems
- A family history of alcoholism
- Contact with peers involved in deviant activities
Could My Child Develop a Drinking Problem?
Certain children are more likely than others to drink heavily and encounter alcohol-related difficulties, including health, school, legal, family, and emotional problems. Kids at highest risk for alcohol-related problems are those who:
- Begin using alcohol or other drugs before the age of 15.
- Have a parent who is a problem drinker or an alcoholic.
- Have close friends who use alcohol and/or other drugs.
- Have been aggressive, antisocial, or hard to control from an early age.
- Have experienced childhood abuse and/or other major traumas.
- Have current behavioral problems and/or are failing at school.
- Have parents who do not support them, do not communicate openly with them, and do not keep track of their behavior or whereabouts.
- Experience ongoing hostility or rejection from parents and/or harsh, inconsistent discipline.
The more of these experiences a child has had, the greater the chances that he or she will develop problems with alcohol. Having one or more risk factors does not mean that your child definitely will develop a drinking problem, but it does suggest that you may need to act now to help protect your youngster from later problems. For example, if you have not been openly communicating with your child, it will be important to develop new ways of talking and listening to each other. Or, if your child has serious behavioral difficulties, you may want to seek help from your child's school counselor, physician, and/or a mental health professional.
Some Parents may suspect that their child already has a drinking problem. While it can be hard to know for sure, certain behaviors can alert you to the possibility of an alcohol problem. If you think your child may be in trouble with drinking, consider getting advice from a health care professional specializing in alcohol problems before talking with your teen. To find a professional, contact your family doctor or a local hospital. Other sources of information and guidance may be found here.