While every parent is probably aware that their teenager might try alcohol or drugs and push boundaries as they grow, there comes a point where simple experimentation turns into something more serious. While it’s important to set boundaries for your child and let them know what is acceptable and unacceptable, being vigilant in identifying the signs of alcohol use is also important.
5 Signs To Look For:
Change In Mood and Attitude
Every parent is familiar with the phenomenon of the “moody teenager,” but moods that have gotten more extreme might be an indicator of alcohol use. Keep your eye out for wild mood shifts, such as happy one moment and sullen the next. As alcohol acts as a depressant, look for signs of more depressive behavior, such as withdrawing from friends, family and favorite activities. Attitude changes can also be an indicator, particularly when it comes to lashing out and extreme anger.
The Wrong Kind of Friends
Has your shy, bookish teen suddenly started hanging out with an older crowd you’re not sure of? If you suspect their friends are drinking or if one of them has already had a DUI, you can be sure your teen will be tempted. Be sure to be up when they get home from being out to see if you can smell anything, including telltale breath mints, and always stress to your child that if someone has been drinking to never allow them to drive.
One of the best indicators of what’s going on with your kid is keeping tabs on their school performance. If your child has gone from performing well at school to just scraping by, chances are there’s something going wrong in their life that you may not be aware of. Refusing to do homework and dropping out of favorite school activities may also indicate your child’s shift in interests.
We all know that kids get the sniffles, but when your child is regularly getting sick it might show something else is going on. Look for vomiting or headaches in the morning — a sure sign of a hangover. A change in appetite may also indicate a teen who’s drinking, as will complaints of an upset stomach becoming more frequent.
You may be the kind of parent who swore that they would never go through their kid’s room, but when it comes to the dangers of alcohol, all bets should be off. If you suspect your teen is drinking, look through their room and bags they frequently carry. Finding proof will help you to help your child, which is more important than a trust issue. If your child has gotten in trouble with the law for underage drinking, this could be a red flag or it could just be a one time incident.
Make sure to discuss with your child the consequences for all of their actions. The attorneys at Katz & Phillips, P.A. share on their website that juvenile DUI offenses are given very little leeway with the law.
It’s important to tell your child how you feel about underage drinking and explain to them the dangers to their health, possible DUI’s and even death. Encourage them to talk to you if they have questions about alcohol. Most importantly, tell them if they or their friends have been drinking, to either call you for a ride or take a taxi for which you will pay.
Researcher Melanie Fleury is a parent who constantly worries about the choices her children make. She wrote this article in hopes that other parents will learn what to look for and how to seek help if needed. The attorneys of Katz & Phillips, P.A. know that when your child is in trouble you want to do everything in your power to help them. By hiring a law firm that is experiences in juvenile crimes, you are giving them a chance of getting a good outcome.
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