Alcohol & Your Teen: What Should You do if They’re Drinking?

Parents of teens already know that there is a considerable chance that their teens will experiment with alcohol before they are legally able to drink. In fact, according to, 72% of high schoolers will try alcohol before they even graduate. Regardless of everything you strive to teach them about this subject, peer pressure may win. While each parent will handle this in a different manner, the largest thing a parent should be concerned about is if it begins to regularly happen.

Teens that actively drink are not only breaking the law, they are also forming habits that can be damaging to their entire life. Alcoholism is a serious problem that has serious consequences.

Signs That Your Teen May Be Actively Drinking:

School Work Changes

If your teen becomes a poor student when they were not that way before, there is a good chance that alcohol is getting in the way. Students may start skipping school or falling behind in their classes because they cannot concentrate on schoolwork with a hangover.

Friends Change

Has the group of friends your teen is hanging out with recently changed? Has your teen changed their attitude towards people and things to do that they liked in the past? This may be a sign that they are allowing alcohol to cloud their judgment.

Do They Smell Like Alcohol?

One of the easiest ways that parents can tell if their teen is continuing to drink is by the way they smell. Alcohol, especially cheaper brands, has a very strong odor. Additionally, if your teen starts carrying around mouthwash all the time, they are probably trying to disguise the smell.

Arrested For DUI

If your teen is stopped and arrested for driving under the influence, chances are they have a drinking problem. Even if this is the first time they ever drank, parents must stress the importance of never drinking and driving. Have your child read more on DUI warnings and effects on websites for up-to-date information and advice on how to minimize the impact of a DUI on their lives.

Health Issues

Is your teen getting sick a lot now? Do they continually have upset stomachs and headaches? This could be a sign of a hangover and not the flu. Keep track of how often they are sick and the related symptoms. Additionally, look for signs of jaundice. Jaundice occurs when the liver is not working properly.

While it is impossible to be around your teen at all times, parents must strive to instill in their teens that drinking is not a wise choice to make. Let them know that while there may be a lot of peer pressure to drink, there are also many consequences for this action.

Discuss with your teen how alcohol abuse can impact their life and their future. Tell them how most drunk driving accidents that involve teens usually result in a fatality. Let them know that if they are arrested for a DUI they will lose their right to drive and will most likely have a hard time finding a job with that on their record.

Explain to your teen that their metabolisms react differently to alcohol, which is why it is better to wait until they are an adult to try drinking. Encourage them to make the right choices, even if it means that they do not fit in with the “swag” crowd.

Writer Kari Lloyd contributes extensively to blogs relating to alcohol and family issues.