Do your teen’s friends drink?
If your teen has drunken friends you’ll want them to let you know. Here are some tips.
We all know that teens drinking is something that is bound to happen. If you're one of the few lucky parents who have a non-drinking teen then be grateful. The rate of teenage drinking is on the rise each year and it's a scary reality. A startling 34% of school goers in South Africa are binge drinkers!

The consequences

Drunken teens have many dangers and consequences to face. Unsafe sex, crime or assult and if your teen is a driver, accidents or death are just a few of those potential dangers.

This problem is so real that a campaign has been launched in Britain by the Red Cross to help kids know what to do if their friends are hurt or unconscious. They are being taught life-saving first aid skills that they could use if faced with a friend in trouble.

South African organizations such as the ARA, an alcohol industry sponsored alcohol awareness group, have also taken note of the drastic increase in teens who drink. A brochure created by the ARA helps look at the dangers of teens drinking and what parents can do to help.

As the campaign in Britain has noticed though, peers are the ones dealing first hand with this issue.

What can you do?

Parents need to be the ones to educate their children on the dangers that they may face when they find themselves with a drunken friend.

Here are a few tips:

•    Your teen needs to realise that having a friend who drinks will not reflect badly on them.
•    One of the most important things is that your child can always get hold of you when they are out with their friends. Topped up airtime or a phone card are necessary.
•    Make sure your child has emergency numbers are programmed into his cellphone.
•    If your teen is worried about a friend who gets drunk all the time (even on their own) perhaps having a non-judgemental meeting with the parents would be a good idea.
•    Remember: just because your child has a friend that drinks, doesn’t mean your child does. Be sure that you aren’t quick to judge. Trust is key.

How do you deal with the issue of teens and alcohol?


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