Question Dear Dr. JPL, My daughter is a graduating senior…
As we kick off a New Year, parents of teens have much to celebrate. The most recent statistics on teens and drinking continue to reflect a downward trend. This offers affirmation to parents and other adults working with teens that they have indeed made an important impact in this area. After all, teens tend to take their cues from parents and the other important people in their lives, so obviously we all must be doing something right.
It is no secret that the best way to continue this decrease in underage drinking is a combination of consistent monitoring and caring communication with our teens.
An awareness of top teen drinking trends is vital to ensuring that we are well equipped to manage these important tasks.
What follows is a quick review of some of the most popular drinking trends among teens over the last few years.
Top Teen Drinking Trends:
Put simply, pregaming is the practice of binge drinking before an event such as a football game, high school dance, etc. where alcohol will not be easily accessible to teens. The practice ironically has resulted because venues and institutions have done a great job in reducing the opportunity for underage drinking.
Games such as ping pong, Risk, darts, or even Monopoly and Pictionary can easily become opportunities for teens to engage in underage drinking. The best deterrent to such activity is parental monitoring.
Social Media Drinking Games
In 2014, reports of a dangerous social media drinking game called Neknomination flooded news outlets. The game, which allegedly originated on social media in Australia, went viral. Participants were challenged to post videos of themselves drinking a pint of alcohol in one sitting. A rash of related deaths were reported worldwide including many teens. Although the craze seems to have calmed down a bit since the news hit, parents should be well aware that teens continue to create their own versions of the game with groups of friends. A related trend is the practice of posting drunk selfies (insert link to blog on the alcholtalk.com on the topic).
This trend involves putting drops of alcohol, particularly vodka, into the eyeball with the intent of getting inebriated quicker. Some teens also claim they do this so that their parents won’t smell alcohol on their breath. The prime result of the practice is extremely irritated eyes that on occasion can result in serious infection.
Drinking Hand Sanitizer
A majority of teens surveyed believe they can get drunk by drinking hand sanitizer. While this practice does not result in inebriation, it can lead to serious liver and/or kidney damage. Parents should also be aware that some teens are also drinking medicine cabinet products that contain alcohol. Certain brands of cough syrup and mouthwash, for example, top the list.
The reduction in underage drinking reveals that our teens are listening to us. With direct discussion and monitoring, we can continue this downward trend. When we are aware of trendy teen drinking practices, our communication can focus on the related concerns of such dangerous behaviors. Knowledge offers us the power of prevention.