The American partying scene has been something that Hollywood has romanticized more and more as the years have gone on. Even after the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) was raised to 21, alcohol is depicted in almost every video, show, and movie that pertains to teens and young adults. Due to this, there should be no question why teens as young as 14 feel the need to drink to fit in with American societal standards.
It has been proven that alcohol, in any amount, isn’t good for the human body or brain. However, it’s binge drinking that people really need to watch out for. “Binge Drinking” has become a fairly common term nowadays in terms of drinking more that a fair amount, but, it’s actually defined by a male having five standard drinks, or a female having four (CBS). This binge drinking culture has also become more normalized, or even considered to be cool.
“Blacking out” is another more common phrase used. This term is used when a person drinks to an amount where they were conscious, but can not remember their actions for a duration of time due to having drank an excess amount of alcohol. While extremely dangerous, this too has become something “cool” for young adults. This type of drinking is coupled with “high-intensity drinking” which is when a person has double or more the amount considered to be binge drinking (NIAAA). While this type of drinking is often encouraged by friends and peers, this is the type of drinking that is exceedingly dangerous and can lead to hospitalization.
How to Talk to Your Child about Drinking at College
Start young. Many children will begin drinking alcohol before they even graduate high school if they have the opportunity. The best thing that a parent can do is to be open about the dangers of alcohol and let their child ask questions. Once your child begins entering an age where they may be likely to try alcohol with friends (this age varies by the child), sit them down and allow them to have a small amount of alcohol at home under your supervision. This will show your child that you support them and and their development in life and allow them to be more open with you about what they are drinking. Also, if you are open about alcohol, it takes away the sense of rebellion, and the need to keep it hidden, so they may not feel the need to drink as much, because they know that they will not be shamed or in trouble for drinking with friends as long as they are safe.
Even if you do not want to allow your child to have alcohol under your roof, just talk to them and ask them to be open about what they are drinking and when. It will allow them to create a new type of bond with you, where they feel they can trust you on more sensitive topics, rather than keeping them all hidden. Remember communication is key!