– Drinking Teens Essay, Research Paper
We live in a society that drinks heavily, and this influences teens. Most Americans use alcohol to celebrate wedding anniversaries, to welcome the New Year, and to enjoy many other special events. Alcohol is a legal drug for people over the age of twenty-one. By the time most teens reach senior high school, nearly all will have faced a choice about whether or not to take a drink. Although this drug is illegal for teenage use a large percentage of teens use alcohol. Many teens die in automobile accidents, which could have prevented if they had chosen to say no. Each year it is blame in the deaths of more than four thousand teens (Claypool, p. 42). No crime kills more teenagers in America.
Kids who are drinking regularly in high school seem to be fully aware of the penalties and laws against underage drinking, possession but don’t care. They agree that driving while intoxicated is a key role in fatal car accidents, yet they still do it. Many teens also believe cold showers and coffee can sober up a person that is drunk
Teens may drink for many different reasons. A big reason for teens to start to drink is because of problems in their family life. Teens could have a bad relationship with their parents or their parents could get in a fight or even get a divorce and thid could cause a drinking problem among their child. Many experts agree that the main reason teens are becoming alcoholics is low self-esteem. Sometimes these children have been neglected or abused which makes them feel unwanted or they have been pressured and feel worthless if they fail. They have to deal with problems that he is too immature to handle, or worries about problems, which are problems at all. Many kids drink to make them feel older and mature. It makes you more confident and sociable.
Another cause of teenage drinking is escape from stress of school if they are overwhelmed with work or that they get really worried over slipping grades and that they just need to relax. Drinking will only make things worse.
Many teens drink because of peer pressure or just to fit in. Kids may think that if they drink then they will fit in with the crowd and become more popular. Kids spend most of their spare time partying. The kid who doesn’t take something to drink has a dozen friends all over him. This may be true for the first couple of times that you drink, but it begins to become a habit and soon you are not only drinking at parties but also drinking alone and that is a sign you need help.
Teens drink for the effect. To get high, to rebel, to alter their feelings of their environment, if only temporary. One of the main reasons kids drink for effect is the freedom it gives them. A problem of drinking for effect is whatever age the child is when he starts depending on the effect of alcohol, that’s the age they are when they have overcome there drinking problem. In other words, when a child is fourteen and starts drinking to become more social and relaxed, when he is eighteen he will still be fourteen socially (Coffey, p.62).
Many adults fail to take teenage alcohol problems seriously because they believe that their teens are too young to worry about. To them the word alcoholic makes them think of a malnourished person who lives on the street. Many young people live in families where the use of alcohol is a part of normal life. Many parents who are drinkers themselves look past teenage drinking. They see drinking as a normal activity and part of growing up. Children of alcoholics are a high-risk group for alcoholism (Claypool, p.46). They are more likely to follow in their parent’s footsteps. Few parents encourage their child to drink, but few see nothing wrong with occasionally drinking. Some parents are relieved when teens drink rather than smoke pot or do other drugs. Only when adults start regarding alcohol as a toxic drug can an effective alcohol education program for America’s youth begin.
By the time students are in seventh grade sixty-three percent of boys and fifty-four percent of girls have at least tried alcoholic beverages. In a 1985 study of 6,144 seventh graders, forty-three percent had experimented with beer and wine, twenty-two percent with hard liquor. By twelfth grade ninety-three percent of young men and eighty-two percent of young women have tried at least one drink (Coffey, p. 20).
Getting alcohol is easy. Kids can drink their parents supply, they get an older friend to get it, buy a fake driver’s licensee, or go somewhere that doesn’t check ID’s.
The younger a child starts drinking the greater the risk of becoming dependent. As children’s nervous systems are not fully developed, the alcohol is absorbed into their bodies faster, making them more likely to get alcohol poisoning. Young people get drunk off less and stay drunk longer. It can stunt young people’s emotional growth and prevents them from developing the judgement skills they need as adults.
The government spends millions of dollars every year on alcohol prevention each year. Traditional programs stress the dangers of alcohol. This is not always effective because of their moralistic approach. They were lectured about the dangers, but their parents, teachers, and friends were still drinking and they seemed fine (Claypool, p. 48).
Effective educational programs help teenagers understand the true impact of drinking on American society. They reinforce the young person’s ability to make independent decisions and they provide accurate information instead of attempting influence through social tactics.
Alateen is a program for alcoholic recovery. Meetings are free, anonymous, and confidential. There primary purpose is to help families and friends of alcoholics recover from the effects of a drinking problem. The only requirement for membership is to have a problem of alcoholism. Members give and receive comfort and understanding through an exchange of experiences, strength, and hope (www.alateen.com).
Defining the drinking problems of teenagers is more complicated than doing so for adults for several reasons. Since teens have had a shorter period of time and fewer opportunities to experience alcohol use, they suffer less from long term effects of heavy drinking. Most teens so not have to support themselves. If they may lose a job because of drinking it probably wouldn’t be a problem.
There are many different ways that teens can get help. Drinking can be prevented. It can be hard for someone to admit that they have a drinking problem. To prevent a drinking problem teens should not give in to peer pressure and try to fight the urge to drink.