Parental tips to curb teenage binge drinking

Teenagers die from alcohol related illness or injury more than anything else.

With that in mind the Sydney Western Area Health Service is desperatley pleading with parents to educate their teens about the risks of excessive drinking.

Sydney West Area Health Service Drug and Alcohol Network Acting Nurse Manager Cathleen Addison-Wilson said it was estimated more than 40 per cent of 16-17 year olds occasionally binge drink.

Furthermore, up to 22 per cent of boys and 18 per cent of girls aged between 12-16 years old reported drinking on a weekly basis. .

"Alcohol impacts upon an individual’s capacity to make rational choices and evidence is clear this is even more so for adolescents, placing them at further risk of harm and injury from misadventure," said Ms Addison-Wilson.

"Over recent years, we’ve seen an increase in `alcohol-pops’ – pre-mixed alcohol and soft drinks. When young people consume these drinks, which are in effect a stimulant and depressant mix, they are more likely to black out and take part in anti-social behaviour."

Ms Addison-Wilson said parents should know where their teenage children were when they out for the evening and who they were with.

"Most alcohol related issues occur when young people are returning home," she said.

Ms Addison-Wilson suggests parents make a 'contract' with their adolescent to pick them up, regardless of their level of intoxication.

"This has been shown to reduce the chance of injury, assault and anti-social behaviour," she said.

Ms Addison-Wilson said it was vital for parents to communicate with their teenager as they became more exposed to alcohol – through their mates, peers and the media.

"The attitudes and actions of teenagers are often heavily influenced by what they see and hear at home. If you choose to discuss your own alcohol use with your teenager, it is important not to glorify your own behaviour," she said.

"Be careful not to sound hypocritical. If you drink, try to avoid getting drunk in front of them."
source: Street Corner