Finding Your Anti-drunk

28 July 2018

4 Warning Signs Your Teenager is Drinking

While alcoholism has always carried a stigma with it, there is a tendency to overlook it in certain demographics. In particular, less attention is paid to teenagers who drink, even though it is estimated that *15% of alcoholics had their first drink before they turned 21*.

With that many people making that sort of decision at such an early age, it’s vital that you, as a parent, know the warning signs of teenage alcoholism. Here are four important signs to look for – if you notice your son or daughter displaying any of these behaviors, it’s probably time to have a serious talk with them.

They ask for money without telling you why they need it

Chances are you give your teen an allowance or they work a part-time job to earn spending money on the side. If they start asking for additional money to what you already give them or what they earn at their job, and don’t give you a clear explanation what they need the money for, it is likely that they could be using it to buy alcohol – or give it to an older friend with a fake ID to buy it for them.

They stay out late without telling you where they are going

Every parent dreads staying up late wondering where their son or daughter is. While it can be the case that your teenager is hanging out with fellow sober friends and just forgot to text you, repeated late nights without knowing where your child is spending the night is suspicious. They could be at a house party where alcohol is being served, or in a quiet public space such as a park or beach, drinking with older friends and acquaintances. Try and set up a texting check-in policy with your teen so that you know where they are going at night and when they expect to be back – this will encourage more responsible behavior.

They exhibit signs of depression

While alcoholism and depression symptoms do overlap, it isn’t unheard of for one ailment to cause the other or magnify it. If your teen is depressed they may be sleeping more than usual (even for a teenager), they might have a loss of appetite, a lack of enthusiasm for school or other hobbies they were normally passionate about, and they also might start picking up some alcoholic tendencies as a result. Talk to your teen about how they feel and, if they seem depressed, talk to a therapist.

They don’t bring their friends over

If your teenage son or daughter stops bringing their friends over – or if they start mentioning new friends who you have never met – it might mean that they’re hanging out with people who encourage bad habits, such as smoking tobacco or drinking. If you suspect that your teen has friends with these sort of negative behavioral tendencies, a good tactic (although counterintuitive) would be to invite these friends over to your house, rather than alienating your son or daughter by implying you don’t want to meet his or her friends.

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