With homecoming parties and celebrations after football games going on throughout our area, the topic of teen drinking is very relevant this fall. As parents, we try to find balance in our parenting style. We want to let our kids have experiences that bring them happiness and fun. We sometimes talk ourselves into looking the other way and letting them party with their friends. Some parents event permit alcohol consumption by their kids and their friends in their home. Here is an article to check out to caution against this decision.
What is the right balance of providing rules and expectations for their behaviors versus being permissive and passive potentially leading to unhealthy and dangerous decisions? How do you know when your teen is experimenting or engaging in a regular habit? When will that habit will progress to other drugs or more severe drinking?
It has been well documented that teens behave in a way that is related to rules about drinking at home. The more teens are permitted to drink at home, the more they actually drink in other places. You could be setting up your child to drink and have impacted memory and functioning. There are many tips out there about how to support your adolescent’s social life in a healthy way by hosting parties that do not include drugs or alcohol.
There could be something else going on with your teen that is leading to their drug or alcohol use. Often adolescents want to be in an altered state of mind to not face some of the feelings they have when they are sober. They surround themselves with peers that are also using and numbing themselves from their emotional struggles. Know that addiction has a progression in stages, ranging from experimentation to physical dependency. The time to intervene to stop the progression is during the teen years when alcohol is first introduced.
If you want to brush up on some information related to the real dangers of marijuana use check out The National Institute on Drug Abuse who just posted a letter to parents on Marijuana: Facts Every Parent Needs To Know. Marijuana has changed over the years. The increased potency is impacting their lives in a more significant way than in the past. Talk to your child about your family values on drugs and alcohol. This is your best chance to prevent addiction. People who start using substances regularly by age 15 have a 50% chance of developing an addiction later in life.
If you think your child might be using drugs or alcohol, don’t wait until the problem gets worse. Reach out to a professional for some advice. A knowledgeable clinician with a focus in addiction treatment will know the best way to assess the severity and make a recommendation on how to help. There is support out there.
Angie Harris, MA, MSW, is a therapist with Insight Into Action Therapy. She enjoys helping people learn new tools to find balance in their lives. Angie co-facilitates one of the Dual-Diagnosis Recovery Program© group at Insight Into Action Therapy in Ashburn. Angie is a Smart Recovery® facilitator and practices Harm Reduction and Moderation Management for Alcohol Use. She has worked in the field of addiction treatment in both outpatient and inpatient treatment settings and is a resource in treatment consultation. She provides individual, family and group therapy at the practice. If you are interested in seeking services, give her a call at (703) 646-7664, ext 10 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unsure if drinking is a problem in our life take the quiz here.