If your child is off to college soon, you may need to have an open and honest conversation with them about the dangers of drinking. There’s no question that the college life will include many opportunities to drink. Although it’s easy for teens to say to their parents that they won’t drink very much while in school, it’s best to not take them all that seriously. Instead, be sure to have a conversation about the health risks of drinking.
To do this, you may want to do some research yourself. As you explore the many articles and sites online, you’re sure to find that alcohol is a substance that can create great harm. For instance, alcohol can affect the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder, and liver. It affects the contents of the bloodstream as well as affects mood, concentration, and coordination. With excessive drinking, each of these is affected in severe ways. For instance, one of the most common illnesses of alcoholism is disease of the liver, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. The liver is an organ that filters toxins from the blood stream, including alcohol. However, with too much alcohol in the body, the liver has a hard time keeping itself healthy. The liver simply cannot keep up. Because of this, an inflammation of the liver develops, also known as alcohol hepatitis. There are approximately over 2 million Americans who suffer from alcohol hepatitis.
You may want to be realistic with your teen and acknowledge whether he or she will likely drink. If you feel that your graduate is going to participate in drinking while in college you might share what a moderate level of drinking is. Communicating these boundaries can at least indicate to your child the limits of drinking. Staying away from drinking entirely might be difficult for a new college student. However, if your teen can participate in the drinking with minimal amounts, then at least he or she will feel accepted in the social scene. Of course, you can also emphasize the importance of abstinence. But in your discussion, if you talk about drinking in moderation, you should know what the research suggests:
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse, males should avoid drinking no more than 4 drinks in a day or no more than 14 drinks per week. Females should avoid drinking no more than 3 drinks in a day or no more than 7 drinks per week. In the U.S., one drink is considered to be 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of hard liquor, such as gin or whiskey. Each of these proportions delivers about 12 to 14 grams of alcohol.
Again, although this too can bring risks (such as when driving), at least you’ve provided a moderate amount that your teen can live with. Often when parents set a firm and unrealistic boundary, teens are more likely to break it. And this might be especially true if he or she is own their own for the first time.
Lastly, research shows that parental guidance does make a difference in the choices that teens make when drinking. Having someone who cares about them encourages teens to make smarter decisions. They are less likely to drive while drinking, for example. They are more likely to establish a designated driver. And they are more likely to drink within their limitations. In other words, research shows that teens will take more precautions to stay safe when drinking after having a conversation about safe drinking with a caregiver. When parents talk to their teens about safe drinking (including abstinence), teens are more likely to stay safe.
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