The prevalence of teen drinking today is staggering. As parents, we cling to a belief that our teens use good judgment, avoid damaging behaviors and always make good decisions. According to a 2009 Youth Risk Behavior survey, 42 percent of teens engaged in drinking alcoholic beverages 30 days prior to completing the survey. Literally speaking, 42 teens out of every 100 teens that completed that particular survey drank alcohol in the last 30 days.
Moreover, 24 percent of these same teens admitted to binge drinking in the last 30 days and an additional 10 percent of those teens claimed that they drove a motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. A study conducted with Maine teens and parents last year indicated that 70 percent of parents don’t believe their teen has ever tried alcohol; however, 61 percent of those teenagers admitted to drinking alcoholic beverages.
Parents often perceive that they would certainly know if their teenager was using alcohol. Clearly, according to the confounding statistics above, some parents are deceived. Be aware parents; it may not be “someone else’s kid” using alcohol.
Take the time to explain the effects of alcohol on the developing brain. Let your teenagers know that drinking alcohol has health consequences. Furthermore, trust but verify your teenager’s whereabouts. Talk to your teen before they leave and when they arrive home. Eliminate their confusion and make clear your expectations. Dig a little deeper, talk a little more. Because do you ever really know?
For more information on teen drinking or to become a member of the Chesterfield County Youth Development Coalition contact Stacee Mosier @ 843-623-5265 or firstname.lastname@example.org.