Why do teens drink alcohol? The answer may seem obvious, but there is a lot more that goes into the decision to drink underage than you may think. In addition to social factors such as peer pressure, there are also a host of other factors and circumstances that contribute to teenage drinking.
Learn more about reasons teens drink, signs of trouble, and how we can work together to prevent the problem.
They Want to Fit In
In high school, many teenagers begin experimenting with alcohol for the first time. In fact, 50 percent of 15-year-olds say they have tried alcohol. They directly or indirectly feel pressured to drink. Why?
Adolescence can be difficult, and many teens just want to fit in. Sometimes this means bowing to peer pressure, which is a powerful force.
It’s important to teach children how to overcome peer pressure.
Movies and Shows Make Them Think It’s Normal
Why do teens drink? Look at the glamour of Hollywood. Reports show that alcohol in movies may lead to underage drinking.
Name a teen comedy from the last 40 years, and there’s a strong chance that drinking underage is part of the plot. Whether it’s attending a party or trying to purchase alcohol underage, kids in movies make underage drinking seem like a normal rite of passage. The truth is that underage drinking is the opposite of what teens are “supposed” to do.
While parties in teen movies may seem like fun, they rarely spotlight the dangerous consequences of underage drinking, everything from being charged with a misdemeanor to losing a scholarship or admission to college.
Worse, underage drinking often results in binge drinking. Underage drinking facts reveal one in six teenagers drinks. This can lead to extremely dangerous consequences, including alcohol poisoning and even death.
This doesn’t mean your teen can’t go to the movies. Instead, these movies can be a great opportunity for you to start the conversation about underage drinking. The next time you see teens drinking underage in a show or movie, casually ask your teenager what they think of this behavior and discuss the possible consequences. You may be surprised by the conversation.
They Saw it on Social Media
It’s no secret teenagers love their phones and social media. It seems like there’s always a new game or app that mesmerizes them. These platforms can, unfortunately, expose them to bad habits like underage drinking.
Social media can certainly influence teenagers to make bad decisions. Teenagers started eating laundry detergent pods because of a social media challenge. If they’re willing to eat deadly detergent, it should be no surprise they’re willing to pop open the bubbly.
It’s important for teens to understand social media posts are rarely an accurate reflection of real life. You can use social media to start the conversation with your teen and help them understand the dangerous consequences that never show up on Tik Tok or Instagram.
They’re Copying What Their Parents and Other Adults Do
While few teens admit it, they copy their parents even more than they might realize. Parents are often the first to expose their kids to alcohol. Studies show that parents’ drinking directly influences their children.
Parents should always drink responsibly and set a good example around the kids, especially when driving.
It would probably shock you to learn how your behavior influences your kids. By setting a good example with your alcohol consumption, you can influence your teen to avoid drinking underage.
They May Be Dealing With Stress or Trauma
The pressure of friends, society, school, homework, and other responsibilities can weigh heavily on teenagers. They might try to cope with stress with unhealthy and dangerous behavior.
Maybe you have a son coping with a first heartbreak. Or perhaps your daughter didn’t make the team or wasn’t accepted by her first-choice college. You may also have a teen who is struggling with a family member’s death or a friend’s illness. These traumas are tough for anybody, but they’re especially hard for teenagers.
When confronted with stressful or traumatic experiences, teens may turn to alcohol to escape. This behavior could make them more likely to drink later in life. It turns out underage drinking can impact a teen’s ability to cope with stress as they age.
Take the time to talk with your children about their problems, especially if you sense they’re struggling with something. Therapy, meditation, and mindfulness are healthy ways to deal with stress and may prevent them from turning to alcohol.
Take the Pledge to Talk It Out and Stop Underage Drinking
So, why do teens drink? As you can see, there are many different answers to this question. This may have you asking yourself how you can prevent your teen from drinking. By understanding the potential causes of teen drinking, you’ll be better prepared to offer a solution.
Take the Pledge to talk it out with your teenager about the dangers of underage drinking and discover how you can make a difference when it comes to your teen and alcohol.