Teens are back from school and they have a lot of time on them. This is a time if parents are not careful; kids find ways of spending their time in an irresponsible way. Some choose drinking alcohol.
Teen age is the age between childhood and adulthood. In other words a teenager can also be called a half adult. Physically they are grown up but lack the mental maturity and worldly experience of an adult.
Hence they are easily lured into the adult vices without knowing the risks like alcoholism.
Teenagers take to alcohol for a variety of reasons. In homes where one or more parents drink regularly at home, the children are also bound to start drinking alcohol. Gradually, while growing up, they become addicted to it.
Peer pressure is the most important influencing factor regarding alcoholism in teenagers. In the process of growing up, they want to show off to their colleagues and friends that they are bold enough to drink. When they see some of their friends drinking, they do not want to be left behind and want to be at par with their friends. Due to this tendency, many teenagers start drinking alcohol.
The boys particularly want to show off not only to their friends but also to the girls around, that they are real men.
Some weak minded teenagers like adults, start alcohol to avoid stress and personal problems.
For whatever reason a youngster takes alcohol, gradually he becomes habituated to it. He becomes an alcoholic, i.e. even if he wants to give up, he finds it difficult. Moreover, a youngster is usually not able to handle his drink well and tends to drink more in quantity, thus exposing himself more to the ill effects.
Statistics show that alcohol is the most abused substance among adolescents and teenagers. Though legally sale of alcohol is banned for teenagers in most countries, still they manage to procure it. An otherwise disciplined teenager can turn into a juvenile delinquent to fulfill his craving for alcohol.
Health related problems due to alcohol also develop in teenagers using alcohol, making them sick. Vomiting and burning pain in the chest and upper abdomen are the most common and earliest problems to develop because of the direct irritant effect of alcohol on the stomach.
In case of adolescents habituated to alcohol, if they miss drinking for more than one or two days, they suffer from withdrawal symptoms, which compels them to drink more.
Parents and other elders should be vigilant about signs of alcoholism in their kids. Change of personality and behaviour in an adolescent should raise the suspicion of alcohol abuse, eg., a youngster suddenly becoming an introvert or extrovert and party loving.
Other tell tale signs of alcoholism in a teenager are loss of interest in surroundings, games and other activities, poor performance in studies, lack of concentration, loss of appetite and weight, e.t.c.
A growing up child has to be explained to about the ill effects of alcohol. If parents have been drinking, they should try to give up alcohol to serve as an example to their children.
It is also important to keep an eye on the company a child keeps, because at this age, children are more influenced by friends than family members. Though it is difficult as at high school and university level many teenagers stay away from homes, still parents should spend some time to get information about the friends, their child has, their back grounds and activities. This should be done in a friendly way. Teenagers should not feel that they are being spied upon.
Auditing of the money spent by a teenager is also useful to know if he is spending on abusive substances like alcohol.
Adolescents and teenagers should be kept very busy physically as well as mentally both at home and school. This helps to keep them away from falling prey to addictions.
If some youth has become an alcoholic, he needs very patient handling. If reprimanded, he may turn more to the bottle. Help of professional counselors and medical experts should be taken to help the individual get rid of this harmful habit.
Teen age is the time for development of a future career and good life and it should not be wasted on alcohol.