Is Your Teen Using?
It's hard to recognize early signs of teen drinking. Most parents believe they would know if their child was drinking, but the majority of teens say their parents wouldn't catch them. Unfortunately, all of Maine's teens are at risk for use and abuse of alcohol. As parents, it is important to be aware of this risk and to continuously monitor your teen. However, identifying signs of early alcohol use in children can be difficult even with careful monitoring.
One sign that your child is experimenting, or considering doing so, could be a casual mention that one or more of your teen's friends is drinking. Or, your child may say that one of their friend's parents lets their teen drink. These could be "trial balloons" to test your reaction to underage drinking. Other early signs of experimentation might include joking about alcohol advertisements or other alcohol-related scenes in TV shows or movies. Your teen may acquire alcohol-related promotional items such as T-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc. It is also possible that there will be no visible signs of early experimentation.
By the time a parent recognizes physical and personality changes, the teen is usually already engaging in heavy alcohol use and could be developing serious abuse problems. While some common warning signs of alcohol abuse are listed in Signs to Watch For, please keep in mind that because these signs often don't become visible until the teen has been drinking for quite awhile, the most effective approach in reducing teen alcohol usage is through ongoing monitoring. By monitoring, you can find out if your teen is using alcohol before these signs become visible and prevent serious abuse problems.
Please visit http://timetoact.drugfree.org by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America for an excellent online resource to help you determine what to do.