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Underage Drinking

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Jul 2015

Why Do Adolescents Drink?

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Qualitative research suggests that underage drinking occurs for a range of reasons and that alcohol can perform several roles in social settings, from the symbolic to the practical; it is not simply a question of identifying with or copying ‘adult’ behaviour.
As a parent it’s important to understand why children may drink alcohol so you can influence your child to make sensible choices.

Children can still be drawn to alcohol even though their first experience of it may be unpleasant. They may not like the taste or how it makes them feel but they often persist. It’s important for them to understand the risks of underage drinking but they won’t listen or believe you unless you first address the upsides of alcohol and why people drink.

Risk-Taking—Research shows the brain keeps developing well into the twenties, during which time it continues to establish important communication connections and further refines its function. Scientists believe that this lengthy developmental period may help explain some of the behaviour which is characteristic of adolescence—such as their propensity to seek out new and potentially dangerous situations. For some teens, thrill-seeking might include experimenting with alcohol. Developmental changes also offer a possible physiological explanation for why teens act so impulsively, often not recognizing that their actions—such as drinking—have consequences.

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