Knowing the Facts
The teen years may be a confusing time, but one thing is clear – you’re not a kid any more. You are becoming mature in many areas of your life, and learning to make your own decisions. Some of the decisions you make today will affect you for the rest of your life. No one can make them for you, but having good information will help you make good choices.
Why Teens Drink
You probably know some teens who drink. Maybe you’ve even tried it yourself. Teens give lots of reasons for trying alcohol – to celebrate a special occasion, for example, or out of curiosity. Some teens think alcohol will put them in a better mood or make them feel less awkward. Others drink to fit in. They figure, “How bad could it be if everyone is doing it?”
The truth is, teen drinking can have very bad consequences, and not everyone is doing it. In fact, less than 30 percent of teens have had a drink in the past month. And only 20 percent of teens binge drink. That means that the majority don’t.
Adults Make Mistakes Too
Unfortunately, teens sometimes get alcohol from their parents or other adults, who think that kids should be free to learn from their own mistakes. Other parents may believe that if kids learn to drink at home, they’ll be safer. Research proves them wrong. When teens feel they have their parents’ approval to drink alcohol, they tend to drink more – and more often – outside the home. What seemed harmless at first often results in tragic consequences that even parents don’t anticipate.
The media also adds to the problem. Many TV shows and movies portray teen drinking as fun and sexy, and fail to show you the real life consequences.