You may have a niece, nephew or cousin who was recently caught underage drinking. It can be confusing to understand why someone so young would want to drink – especially when the consequences are so high, but some teens don’t realize there are consequences for underage drinking.
So what leads teens to drink? Here’s what you should know:
Peer pressure and wanting to fit in
You may remember your awkward teen years when you wanted to fit in with a group of like-minded peers. It was probably a confusing time where you did a lot of things that didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time – drinking may have been one of these. Some teens will drink because that’s what the people they know are doing.
Peer pressure can also influence a teen to drink. Teenagers may be pushed to drink because their friends dare them. A teen may feel they are expected to drink if they are at a party. Adolescent drinking can lead to early addiction problems.
Instant gratification to a growing brain
A teen’s brain is still growing and learning. When a teen drinks, their brain’s reward centers will kick in and make it seem like alcohol is good for them. The short burst of gratification can lead a teen to drink more
Eventually, the instant gratification of alcohol will need more to feel that same initial feeling. In other words, the more a teen uses a substance the more they will need to use it to feel good. Extreme amounts of alcohol can lead to long-term issues and alcohol poisoning.
If you know a teen who’s been accused of underage drinking then you may need to know your options to ensure they are safely handled. Jail time isn’t appropriate for a juvenile’s mistake.