Did you know that teenage girls (more so than teenage boys) are likely to engage in underage drinking? The most recent data from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) found that 66 percent of female high school students had “ever drunk alcohol” compared to 62 percent of male high school students.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure why teenage girls tend to drink more than boys. Some hypothesize that since girls typically reach puberty sooner, they “might” engage in risky behavior (like drinking) earlier as well. There’s also evidence to suggest that teenage girls are more susceptible to alcohol-related messages. For example, advertisers target girls with bright colored magazine ads showing beautiful models in amazing clothing drinking and glamorizing the use of alcohol.
What can you do about it?
1. Lock It Up
Remember, teenagers find it easy to access alcohol when it’s readily available in their homes. Research has shown that two out of three teenagers say it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without their parents knowing about it. As a precautionary step, I’d suggest keeping your liquor cabinet locked.
Research has shown that two out of three teenagers say it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without their parents knowing about it.
Also, brain science can be helpful here. At 17, your daughter’s frontal lobe — which is the region that handles restraint — hasn’t fully formed. We now know the human brain does not finish developing until sometime in our 20s. If your daughter can’t yet make the right choice about alcohol, then locking the cabinet helps her by ensuring the alcohol is out of her easy reach.
2. Explain Your Concerns
I’d also recommend an extended, calm conversation about the severity of her actions. What if she or another teenager ended up in the hospital? Or in a car accident? Help her see the potential consequences to her actions.
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Teens Stealing Alcohol from Parents, by Dr Carol (Your Teen Magazine)
She’s a petite 17-year-old girl, with little makeup and a kind smile. She is an only child. She has good relationships with her friends and loves to talk with them about boys, school stress, and gossip. She would never talk specifically about struggle she’s dealing with at home, but she will hint about them indirectly with her friends. She doesn’t talk to any of her friends about serious issues that she’s dealing with nor does she talk to her parents. I innocently asked, who’s there for you? Her response,“that’s why I now have a therapist.” She explained how when she was 16 years old she had everything bottled up inside her and struggled with depression, extreme mood swings and sought solace in drugs and alcohol. She talked about how her depression hit an all-time low at one point and she overdosed. Her drug of choice ecstasy and alcohol of choice vodka. Once this happened she had to come clean to her parents and tell them about the depression and obviously the drugs and alcohol. She was extremely scared because she had never opened up to them about “anything” before. When she told her parents about the drug issue her mom cried and her dad was sad. She was surprised by how open and comforting they were about her situation and sent her to rehab. The thing she feels the worse about is that by coming clean to her parents, she’s basically admitting to them that they don’t know her. She’s been lying to them. Lying about who she is and what she does. This truly bothered her the most. She said that time heals all when talking about going into treatment for her drug and alcohol issues. She then tells me that on top of the drug and alcohol issues and the depression, she also had an eating disorder. She had become anorexic for a period of time as a form of control over her life. She felt hiding the eating disorder was very easy to do. She stressed to me that it had nothing to do with body image at all, it was all about control.