Prevent underage drinking by thwarting teens’ risky behavior and encouraging creative activities

Posted on December 19th, 2017 in Addiction

Prevent underage drinking by thwarting teens’ risky behavior and encouraging creative activities

Most people tend to ignore the harmful consequences of drinking and do not seem surprised to find that their teenage children are also experimenting with alcohol. Due to the growing acceptance of alcohol during social events, the problem of drinking has crossed all boundaries  and has become too widespread to control. Usually, people start embracing the drinking culture at an early age. Given the legality of alcohol, it has become increasingly easy for children to access alcohol by various means. In fact, during high school parties, teenagers indulge in drinking like any experienced person.

Underage drinking is becoming a serious public health concern. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly one in five individuals between 12 and 20 years of age drink alcohol. In this age group, around 4.5 million teenagers indulged in harmful binge drinking and 1.1 million reported of heavy alcohol use.  Generally, teens are vulnerable to substances like alcohol due to numerous reasons. As such, teenage years are difficult years by itself because of the biological changes in a teen’s body and brain. In addition to this, they have to adjust to challenging transitions from middle to high school, academic and peer pressure, a desire to make friends, dealing with family problems and combating loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety and/or depression. For teenagers, alcohol becomes a gateway for escaping the reality and an instrument to fit in socially with others.

Channelizing teenagers’ enthusiasm in the right direction

Taking risks is not always a negative behavior. In fact, there is a positive side to taking risks, such as learning a new skill. For example, despite the risk of injuring his or her knee while learning bicycling, a teen would gain motor skills, confidence, courage and self-esteem once he or she learns the skill.

Most teens are high on enthusiasm, but low on the ideas necessary for making life interesting and creative. They can be prevented from taking harmful risks by substituting their adventurism with a healthy challenge. The best way to find a meaningful and challenging activity that can help them stay focused is by asking them relevant questions, such as:

  • What activity would make them happy?
  • What is the most valuable thing in the world to them?
  • What’s the most exciting thing they’ve ever done or can imagine doing?
  • If they had eight hours to do whatever they wanted, what would they choose to do?

The questions need to draw out a child’s interests. It could be a physical activity like sports, a creative activity like drawing or playing the guitar, or an emotional exercise like volunteering at an animal shelter. Once they settle on any activity, parents need to ask them simple questions to keep them engaged in their activity and ignite their interest further, such as:

  • How much time they want to dedicate to the activity?
  • How do they intend to get to the next step?
  • What equipment would they need?
  • Whom do they need to contact?

However, parents need to restrain themselves from jumping right in and taking over, as that would undo the whole learning experience. Rather than indulging in helicopter parenting, they need to allow their teens to navigate their journey as much as possible on their own.

Seek right advice

The challenging phase of teenage years is not the easiest of times for both children and their parents. During this period, conversations between them are not always smooth as teenagers are prone to evading questioning and telling half-truths. Parents need to have open and positive dialogues with their children without being judgmental. Instead of dominating their children, parents need to treat them like a partner in their journey of self-discovery. This way they would be more open to sharing their problems and parents would be able to help them.

If you suspect your child to be addicted to alcohol and feel that he or she needs treatment, get in touch with the Arizona Alcohol Addiction Helpline to know more about the alcohol addiction treatment centers in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-1510 or chat online to get more information about the best alcohol addiction treatment in Arizona.

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