Take a look at the clock right now and ask yourself, where are your kids? Are they small enough to keep an eye on at home (even if you are always on your feet)? Or are they grown enough to get a little free space and time away without you behind them? Whatever they are doing, I bet none of the answers you came up with involved your teen drinking. Even though thousands of teens today will have their first drink. For a fraction of these adolescents, it will change the course of their lives.
Exactly how many?
7,000 teenage kids at and around the age of 16 are taking their very first drink today.
7,000 teens yesterday.
7,000 teens tomorrow.
Roughly 1,700 kids between the ages of 17 and 21 die every year due to accessive drinking.
Are those numbers anyone wants to play with?
Any mother or father out there willing to gamble with those odds?
I’m guessing not, and the key is not thinking ‘oh that’s something that happens to other people, not me and my child.’ That’s a reactive approach that often, hits families far too late to be of any use to the teen.
We need to start a preventative approach to keeping these teens from drinking and succumbing to the pressures of alcohol (and of course drugs).
So, what are the facts?
The CDC reports that 90% of all teen alcohol consumption is binge drinking, in which teens consume more alcohol than adults who are regular drinkers.
Teens who engage in drinking are at higher risk of
- brain development issues
- social problems
- car accidents —> kids who start drinking at a young age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident.
I can attest to the last one, after having had 40 stitches in my face from a car accident at 16. Yes, alcohol had been involved. In all reality, the fact that it happened that late in life was astounding. Mostly for the reasons that I’d been around alcohol my entire life.
All it took for me was one night by a campfire being introduced to Bacardi 151. Only 14 years old and my entire life changed. Not for the better, I might add. Most recovering addicts are usually able to point to a specific instance at a young age that pivoted their propensity for addiction.
Teen’s brains are still very malleable. Especially more so when under the influence of a substance; therefore causing the propensity for addiction, not the other way around.
I don’t have all the answers nor will I never claim to. In the instance where raising children is concerned especially, but I do know that the longer we sit idly by, the worse things will get.
I don’t know any parent’s who are willing to sit idly by and wait for the one day to come where their world changes. We have to help these kids by addressing teen drinking before it begins!