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Take time to talk to teens about alcohol

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Prom activities are right around the corner, and it’s easy to get carried away with celebrating. But this year, make sure alcohol doesn’t turn the event into a tragedy for your teen.

A lifesaving talk

One of the most dangerous things a teenager can do is drink alcohol. But it’s likely that a talk with your teen can go a long way toward keeping him or her safe. Here are four reasons you might give for saying no to that drink.

1. Alcohol can make you do things you wouldn't usually do.

Alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions. That means you might get in a fight or make decisions about sex that you might not have made sober. And the drinking environment can be risky. Underage drinkers are more likely to either carry out or be the victim of physical or sexual assault than their peers who don’t drink.

2. Alcohol and driving may end in tragedy.

If you get behind the wheel after drinking (or ride with someone who has been drinking), you are looking for your trip to end in disaster. Young people ages 16 to 24 make up 40 percent of drivers involved in an alcohol-related crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

3. Alcohol seriously affects your body's ability to function.

Drinking leads to loss of balance, slurred speech and blurred vision. Sometimes you pass out, and reflexes don’t work as well. That means you could vomit and choke or stop breathing completely.

4. Alcohol can put an early end to your future.

Alcohol can make you more likely to commit a crime or blow off school. Drinking can be the monkey you can’t get off your back, controlling your life. In fact, if you start drinking before age 15, you are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol at some point in your life, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Parents, it starts with you

In addition to talking with your teen about drinking, you can make sure any prom parties they go to are supervised and alcohol-free. You can also help them find activities that don’t involve alcohol.

At prom and beyond, simply staying involved in your child’s life can help. According to the NIAAA, kids whose parents are actively involved in their lives are less likely to drink.

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