March 3, 2012
Teenage years are already difficult and teens are facing more pressures than they have in past years. Teens are being pressured by parents and society to act more like adults and make adult- like decisions. In today’s economy, some teens are being asked to be a surrogate parent to younger siblings while mom and dad take on extra work to make ends meet. Getting into college is more competitive and teens are feeling the pressures to make a decision about college at younger ages.
During the teen years, pressures to use and abuse alcohol and other drugs are at their highest. Statistics from recent studies show that 27 percent of teens misuse some type of drug every month and teen alcohol abuse remains one of the biggest problems our youth face. Unfortunately, more and more teens die each year from alcohol related poisoning or drunk driving crashes. In addition to these hazards, alcohol has been shown to stunt the development of several key internal functions.
Many teens question why it is against the law to drink alcohol when they are asked to join the military and vote on critical issues that affect their community — and are now being asked to act even more like adults. Many believe that if they are asked to be an adult, they should be treated as an adult and should be able to consume alcohol. Even some adults believe teen alcohol consumption should be allowed and will compare statistics in the United States to those in other countries with lower legal drinking ages.
The United States does have one of the strictest drinking laws and also has one of the biggest problems with teen alcohol abuse. Most countries with lower age restrictions on alcohol have fewer youth alcohol abuse problems. Studies show, however, that parents in countries with lower restrictions talk to their kids more about the harmful effects of alcohol. These same studies have shown that parents in the United States believe two of the most important issues teens face are sex and alcohol abuse, and that educating their teens about these issues should be left up to schools.
Schools should be providing education on the harmful effects of alcohol but it has been proven time and again that teens will listen to their parents more than anybody else. Talk to your teens about the harmful effects of alcohol abuse and encourage them to share what they learn in school, and help keep our kids safe.
Keeping Our Kids Safe is brought to by the Delaware Police Department and School Resource Officer Rod Glazer.