What would you think if someone you knew gave a two-year-old child beer in his sippy cup? This is just what happened in Pheonix, Arizona in June, and Valerie Marie Topete was arrested for child abuse. She admitted to giving it to her own child, saying that he kept reaching for it. Well, what if your teenage child began reaching for alcohol? Would you allow it then?
Some parents do. In fact some parents (mistakenly) believe letting kids drink alcohol early discourages later use.
The long-time controversy over teenage alcohol use stems from the fact that parents believe their children should learn responsible drinking in the safety of their own home. A recent study from the RTI International and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined information collected from over a thousand mothers and their third-grade children. Forty percent of the mothers interviewed believed that forbidding children from trying alcohol only made it more appealing. Not only that, thirty-three percent of the third-graders had already tasted beer, wine or other alcohol.
The Facts About Drinking
The study revealed that fifth-graders who had been given alcohol by their parents were twice as likely to report alcohol use in seventh grade. And it doesn’t stop there. People who begin drinking before the age of fifteen are six times more likely to develop alcohol problems than those who begin in adulthood.
A 2011 national study of twelve-to-fourteen year-old drinkers reported getting alcohol for free from their family. Yet alcohol is the leading cause of death among teens and is known to lead to harder drug use. In fact, the majority of those who abuse substances such as cocaine, heroin and prescription opiates report alcohol use leading up to it.
So What Are The Dangers Of Drinking
There are many dangers and problems associated with alcohol use that many are not aware of. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream after consumption. From there, it reaches the nervous system, which controls many vital body functions. The nervous system is overseen by the brain, which is why drinking during the body’s development in the teenage years is so detrimental to coordination and cognitive skills.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, and in small amounts it brings about relaxation and mitigates anxiety. In larger amounts, intoxication occurs, and even more produces alcohol poisoning. This is a potentially fatal condition in which there is too much alcohol for the body to handle. The liver cannot filter all the toxins and begins to manifest symptoms like mental confusion, stupor, or coma; vomiting; seizures; slow or irregular breathing; and hypothermia, bluish skin color and paleness. If alcohol poisoning goes untreated, death is likely to occur as the gag reflex stops working and the user may choke on his own vomit. He may also receive brain damage or die simply from too much alcohol in the system.
Not Allowing Drinking And Providing Education Is Key
Parents who talk to their children about the dangers of alcohol will find them less inclined to experiment with it. Promoting alcohol use will not clear them of the compulsion to try the “forbidden fruit”; educating them will.
Meetings can be held in the household that go over the dangers of alcohol. There are also Narconon video resources and education and prevention programs that can be implemented through the schools.
Besides taking the prevention and education role a parent should never allow his or other kids who are underage to use alcohol. This is setting them up for abuse later in life and comes with many negative consequences of alcohol use.