Binge drinking, or in other words, drinking more than five drinks within a couple of hours, is a real problem among kids starting around age twelve and moving up through the teenage and college years. As a parent, it is your responsibility to be aware of this problem, and the very real consequences attached to it. The following is a look at what parents should know about binge drinking.
Binge drinking greatly increases the risks that your child will engage in other risky behaviors. When a teenager drinks a couple of drinks, they tend to experience a buzz of some kind. When they increase that number, and drinking five or more drinks, that buzz generally becomes a recklessness. National statistics show that when a child binge drinks, the following behavior statistics jump: driving drunk, driving with someone who is drunk, taking drugs, having sex with strangers, engaging in sexual behaviors, getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant, starting or getting into physical fights, and more. In fact, kids who binge drink on occasion are more likely to have alcohol abuse problems later, as well as long term physical and mental problems.
Parents should know that this is a serious problem, with serious consequences, and that their child is not immune to the pressures of binge drinking. In a national survey, over 61% of teens admitted to binge drinking at least once. Kids get peer pressured. Your child does not have to have a fake id, or sneak into a bar to binge drink. Most teens know of a place where alcohol is readily available to them, or someone who would be willing to buy it for them if they ask. Many teens know that their parents do not keep track of the alcohol in their own home, and thus stealing a few beers, or shots will go unnoticed.
As a parent it is your responsibility to have conversations with your child about binge drinking, and alcohol consumption. They need to know the rules for your family, and you should discuss with them the fact that other parents may allow drinking, or even provide some alcohol, but that it is still not allowed. You also need to discuss with them the consequences of binge drinking.
Lastly, as a parent you should know to watch for the signs and symptoms that your child has a problem. Often belligerent behavior, mood swings, change in attitude, are all signs that your child is having a problem. Add to that symptoms of hangovers, blood shot eyes, etc. and you may need to step in and put a stop to the problem.
Binge drinking has long term effects on a child’s life, and even though a drink here and there might not hurt them physically, emotionally, or mentally, if your child does not practice self control, their actions could result in life changing consequences.