Parents: Introducing alcohol to teens to take the allure way may stunt their emotional growth
Americans are often told to do like the Europeans do: Introduce alcohol to children at a young age so they don't grow up seeing it as forbidden fruit.
Some studies have shown that European countries even have much lower rates of teens with alcohol-related problems.
But in Ireland, the College of Psychiatry of Ireland is warning parents that advice to parents about this process of alcohol desensitization is inaccurate--and it may even be harmful to teens.
"Teenagers brains are still developing so drinking alcohol at this crucial stage interferes with that development and slows it down,” said Dr William Flannery, Addiction Psychiatrist.
Helping teens become well-rounded adults may be the key
The College says that the longer a teen is not introduced to alcohol, the greater chance he or she has of not developing alcohol-related problems as an adult. They recommend that parents teach teens how to socialize without alcohol and to encourage extracurricular activities like sports or art.
The College also says that parents should set clear expectations when it comes to house rules and a teen's free time. The less ambiguity there is about what is expected, the better. Flannery elaborates:
"The teen years are also crucial stages for developing skills and confidence in how to deal with social situations and various problems that life throws at us. If they are consuming alcohol in these years then their ability to deal with relationships, emotional situations and life’s challenges in their twenties is impaired as they may only have coped in these circumstances by using alcohol to support them."
Flannery notes that taking an active interest in a teen's social life can also help parents keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening in his or her life.
Source: The Cork News