Parents Beware: Top Teen Drinking Trends

Parents Beware: Top Teen Drinking Trends

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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:

Pregaming

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.

Party Games

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).

Eye Shots

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.

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Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder is one of the tween, teen and parenting experts that participated in the focus groups that helped form the new educational campaign and website, TheAlcoholTalk.com. Her expertise and vast experience were also tapped for much of the advice and guidance included on the site. Her unique understanding of the communication techniques necessary for The Alcohol Talk to effectively take place make her an ideal spokesperson for the campaign. Dr. Powell-Lunder is a clinical psychologist specializing in work with tweens, teens, young adults, and their families. She is co-author of the book Teenage as a Second Language (Adams Media 2010) and the creator of www.itsatweenslife.com, an interactive and informational website for parents and tweens, and co-creator of www.Talkingteenage.com, an interactive informational website for the parents of teenagers. Jennifer is a regular contributor for outlets including Psychology Today, Parenting Magazine, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, GalTime, KnowMoreTV, Examiner, and North Texas Kids. She has also been featured in The Huffington Post, Yahoo, AOL’s ParentDish, Mamapedia and many other blogs and websites. As a parenting expert on both radio and television programs including NPR’s Talk of the Nation, NBC’s TODAY in New York, Better TV and WCBS, FOX and ABC affiliates, Jennifer talks about tween, teen and parenting issues. She was profiled in Westchester Magazine’s January 2012 feature on ‘People to Watch Jennifer is a published researcher, in-demand speaker and consultant on tween, teen, and young adult issues. She spent almost a decade as a Program Director of an inpatient adolescent psychiatric unit at a private psychiatric hospital in the Northeast where she now serves as Senior Clinical Liaison. She is also an adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University. Jennifer sits on the Board of Directors for Family Ties, a non-profit family advocacy agency serving Westchester County, NY and maintains a private outpatient practice in Bedford Hills, NY.

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