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Teens and Alcohol: What Parents Can Do

posted Feb 20, 2011, 6:29 AM by Caitlin Paul   [ updated Feb 20, 2011, 10:02 AM ]
While the average parent may enjoy a drink or two on a regular basis as a healthy way to relax and promote cardiovascular health, ANY amount of alcohol for teenagers can be very harmful. Teens feel the need to experiment and rebel, leading to high rates of teenage drinking. It is common for teens to only drink on the weekends and to binge drink, leading to further problems to their bodies and minds.

Alcohol is harmful for teens for a number of reasons:
  • Teens are still developing physically and mentally, and alcohol is a depressant and a neurotoxin that can impair their ability to function well in school.
  • Alcohol consumption often leads to reckless behavior such as unprotected sex, violence, crime and serious injury. All of these have serious, irreversible consequences that could affect the rest of their lives. 
  • The earlier one starts drinking, the greater the chance they will become dependent on alcohol, leading to lifelong issues with substance abuse.
Parents can help their teens make good choices when it comes to alcohol. This short guide produced by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has excellent information and tips just for parents.

If you yourself often drink more than 5 drinks (men) or 4 drinks (women) within the span of 2 hours, you are also binge drinking. Binge drinking is very common - more than 33 million adults binge drink every year. Binge drinking is harmful for adults because it can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, car crashes, impairment and violence. Drinking at all is very serious for pregnant women, or women who may become pregnant, as it leads to higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome and babies born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. There are options for you! Check out any of the links below to find out what you can do and what help is available.

(All of the above information was found on the CDC, US Department of Transportation and NIAAA websites, listed below).


  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Binge Drinking, Binge Drinking Video! and Underage Drinking
  2. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Make a Difference Brochure, Main Page
  3. US Department of Transportation: Community How to Guide to Prevent Underage Drinking
  4. has information on how to curb your own drinking habits.
  5. Brain damage in teens Found correlated with binge drinking: National Public Radio Article.