WHY UN­DER­AGE DRINK­ING IS A BAD IDEA

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Leanne Allen

Hard hit­ting facts about the risks of chil­dren drink­ing al­co­hol

Hav­ing teenagers pre­sents par­ents with a whole new set of chal­lenges. And al­co­hol is just one of them. But the prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with al­co­hol, cause a whole new range of is­sues! And if you are think­ing, “I drank at 16, what is the big deal”, re­alise that times have changed and as a par­ent, you need to be aware of this.

As a par­ent and a psy­chol­o­gist, I firmly be­lieve that mi­nors should not be given al­co­hol. Not to take to par­ties and not at home (un­less strictly su­per­vised). Un­der­age drink­ing is a bad idea. Let’s just say that you have a 15-yearold daugh­ter who wants to go to a 16th birth­day party. You say, “yes, have fun”. Then she starts to push the bound­aries with state­ments like, “Can I take a drink mum, all the other girls par­ent’s let them take some, that way they know how much they are drink­ing”. “What? All your friends are al­lowed to drink?”, you say. You know for a fact that this is not true. You know some of the par­ent’s and they would have a coro­nary if they knew their child was drink­ing! So, what do you do? A: bow to peer pres­sure from your child or, B: be the par­ent that your daugh­ter will claim she hates and go to her room slam­ming the door.

WELL, I TAKE OP­TION B, FOR THE FOL­LOW­ING REA­SONS. 1. It is il­le­gal.

If the po­lice at­tend the party be­cause a cou­ple of 16-year-olds start punch­ing and fight­ing, then the hosts of that party can be fined $1100 on the spot for each mi­nor who is drink­ing with­out con­sent of their par­ent/guardian.

2. It af­fects their brain.

Re­search has shown that the de­vel­op­ing brain con­tin­ues to de­velop un­til age 25. Binge drink­ing (which is what hap­pens with un­su­per­vised teens) will lit­er­ally dam­age the brain.

3. In­creases the risk of sex­ual as­sault.

Un­for­tu­nately, date rape and sex­ual as­sault by a known per­son is a huge prob­lem. Girls lose their abil­ity to say no or give in to peer pres­sure, while boys lose their in­hi­bi­tion and com­mon sense. You may be think­ing my kids’ friends are great, BUT if your child is in­tox­i­cated and there are older peo­ple at the party, some­one may take ad­van­tage of that

sit­u­a­tion. If you think an adult has never taken ad­van­tage of a teen at a party, think again. Your son is also at risk here.

4. In­creases the risk of as­sault.

Al­co­hol fu­elled rage, jeal­ousy and in­hi­bi­tion can lead young peo­ple to fight. This of course can lead to se­ri­ous in­jury or death from a ‘king hit’, fall­ing and head­ing the hit on con­crete path, stab in­juries and po­lice charges.

5. In­creases the risk of road ac­ci­dents.

Teenagers of­ten walk in front of mov­ing ve­hi­cles or take even greater risks if driv­ing. Teens al­ready take risks, that’s how they learn bound­aries, but add al­co­hol and prob­lems will mag­nify.

6. Al­co­hol in­creases the risk of sex­ual ac­tiv­ity.

Do you want your child to have sex with some ran­dom per­son just be­cause they are drunk? It may be con­sen­sual, but it can still lead to guilt, shame, em­bar­rass­ment, bad ex­pe­ri­ences, trauma, preg­nancy and STD’s – which are on the in­crease again.

7. So­cial me­dia scan­dal.

Imag­ine pho­tos of your daugh­ter sprawled on the lawn with her skirt hitched up, or a breast pok­ing out of her top, or your son vom­it­ing in some­one’s gar­den. Per­haps sex­u­ally ex­plicit pho­tos will be leaked cre­at­ing a whole host of prob­lems for the per­son in the photo with bul­ly­ing, de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and sui­cide. The per­son who took the photo can have se­ri­ous charges laid against them, as it is il­le­gal to pho­to­graph un­der­age chil­dren.

8. In­creases the risk of tak­ing other drugs.

If you think your an­gel will never take drugs, think again. ‘Party drugs’ are a huge prob­lem in ev­ery school and in ev­ery area. If you think just be­cause your child is go­ing to an elite, pri­vate or re­li­gious school they are im­mune, think again. Your par­ent­ing and vig­i­lance are im­por­tant.

9. Kids push bound­aries.

Kids need firm bound­aries. What­ever bound­ary you set they will push past it. If you say, “Sure you can have just two drinks”, they will have prob­a­bly have four, if you say that they can’t have any, they will still have a cou­ple. It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber you are their par­ent, not their friend. Kids have plenty of time to drink when they are legally al­lowed to do so. And they should be ex­tremely grate­ful that in Aus­tralia the age is 18 and not 21, like it is in Amer­ica!

Leanne Allen (BA Psych,(Hons)), Is the Prin­ci­ple Psy­chol­o­gist at Re­con­nect

Well­ness Cen­tre. She has trained in Sand­play Ther­apy, NLP and CBT and has had ex­ten­sive train­ing in re­la­tion­ship ther­apy. Leanne has also com­pleted train­ing as a life coach. Her ap­proach is to look for­ward whilst re­leas­ing the trauma of the past. Con­nect on Face­book or visit the Web­site.

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