It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly why teenagers start drinking alcohol. However, the numbers show us that more than 4,300 underage youth die each year due to excessive drinking and that underage drinkers consume more drinks per occasion than adult drinkers do.
Well, in addition to your Illinois Basset Certification that teaches you how to recognize alcohol intoxication, prevention, and intervention techniques, you should also be aware of the most common reasons teens engage in underage drinking so you can prevent that from happening in your establishment.
1. Peer Pressure
Even when teens know that underage drinking is not the way to go, it can be easy to fall victim to peer pressure. After all, if the cool kids are doing it, and a teen yearns to be a part of the group, you can expect some will give in to the pressure and give drinking a try.
Think about it. Many adults use alcohol as a way to escape the realities of their life. And depression is a serious illness that can worsen addictive behaviors. If a teen has feelings of angst, and realizes that alcohol consumption dulls that pain, underage drinking may become a serious problem.
Alcohol can give teens a quick fix to the sadness they’re feeling. And while this is never going to lead to a happier life, this short term fix is sometimes all they need.
Sometimes, no matter how well parents raise their children, some teens will strike out on their own in search of their independence and in an act of rebellion start underage drinking. Parties, after school events, and even late nightclubs with lax identification procedures raise concerns over underage drinking.
And, as a bartender, it’s important to remember that sometimes teens will sneak into establishment they’re not supposed to, looking much older than they are, and try to drink up.
It shouldn’t be surprising that many parents claim to keep their teenager as busy as possible to avoid things like boredom and trouble. Sometimes, if a teen feels bored or lonely, they may get together with their friends and drink to waste away the hours. Worse yet, alcohol can bond teens in a way that can exacerbate feelings of boredom and depression, since alcohol is a downer.
Extracurricular activities, weekend sports, and family time can help prevent bartenders and convenience store clerks from having to determine whether a person is underage drinking or not.
It’s not just when children are young that they model after their parents. Unfortunately, some parents forget this, become self-absorbed, or simply don’t know how to parent their unruly teens. Worse yet, some parents have alcohol issues of their own that their children see on a regular basis and begin to think is normal behavior.
In the end, it’s responsible of bartenders to learn the signs of underage drinking so they can prevent teens from ordering drinks in their establishment. If adults become more in tune with the reasons behind teen alcohol consumption, the numbers regarding underage drinking may start to fall.