Communicating Concepts

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Alcohol Use by Teens

       Many kids and teens try alcohol long before it's legal for them to purchase alcoholic beverages including wine and beer. Research has shown that nearly 80% of high school kids have tried alcohol. Drinking during their junior/senior high school and college years provides status within their peer group.

       Although experimentation with alcohol commonly occurs within these age groups, it's not safe or legal for parents to encourage their children to drink at home. It's important to start discussing alcohol use and starting at an early age frequently results in an escalation that can result in a serious impairment of judgment. Encourage them to wait until they reach the legal drinking age and to drink responsibly.

Effects of Alcohol Abuse
       Alcohol is a mood altering drug that lowers an individual's inhibitions and interferes with a person's  ability to make good decisions. alcohol is extremely dangerous for kids and teens who have less experience making good decisions.

       Short-term effects of drinking include:

  • Distorted vision, hearing, and coordination
  • Altered perceptions and emotions
  • Impaired judgment, which can cause accidents and other risky behaviors like unsafe sex and drug use
  • Bad breath
  • Hangovers

       Long-term effects include:

  • Cirrhosis and cancer of the liver
  • Loss of appetite
  • Serious vitamin deficiencies
  • Stomach ailments
  • Heart and central nervous system damage
  • Memory loss
  • Increased risk of impotence
  • High risk for becoming an alcoholic

       Childhood is a time of learning and discovery, so it's important to encourage kids to ask questions at an early age, even questions that might be hard to answer. Open, honest, age appropriate communication sets the stage for your kids to come to you later with other difficult topics or problems.

       Parents need to lead by example abstaining from drinking and driving and drinking in moderation in social and business settings when a designated driver is available. Take a pledge never to drink and drive. By not being a hypocrite, you dramatically increase the chances that your child will just say "no" when presented with a chance to drink alcohol.

Alcohol and Sports
       It seems that every  major sporting event - football, basketball, auto racing, etc. - has an alcoholic product sponsoring the event.  Fans can't seem to enjoy watching their favorite sport without imbibing alcohol in some form - wine, beer, or hard alcoholic beverages.

Suggested Readings:

Drug Rehab 4 Teens    Drug and Alcohol Treatment designed for struggling teens/adolescents.

Teen Alcohol Abuse Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Risk Factors   Get the facts on teenage drinking and learn the causes, risk factors, symptoms and signs of intoxication, treatment, dangers (alcohol poisoning,

Alcohol   Deciding whether to drink is a personal decision that we each eventually have to make. Get the facts about alcohol.

Teens and Alcohol - Teen Drug Abuse  An article describing some of the major health risks of teen alcohol abuse.

Focus Adolescent Services: Alcohol and Teen Drinking  The average age when youth first try alcohol is 11 years for boys and 13 years for girls. The average age at which Americans begin drinking regularly is 15.9

Teens: Alcohol And Other Drugs | American Academy of Child ...    Experimentation with alcohol and drugs during adolescence is common. Unfortunately, teenagers often don't see the link between their actions today and the consequences.

References:

Adolescent Behavior

Relationships:

Puberty

Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Adolescent Challenges

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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