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Teen Drinking? How To Recognize the Signs and Get Your Teen To Stop

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

It's a parent's worst nightmare: you find out your teen is drinking. Maybe he or she has been sneaking it for months, maybe even years. As parents, we want nothing more than to help our kids stay safe and healthy during their teen years. But when they're hiding alcohol use from us, how can we know if they've developed an addiction? Or worse yet, how can we help them if they have?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the signs of teenage drinking as well as strategies for helping your kids stop abusing alcohol before it gets out of hand.

Teen Drinking: Signs That Should Sound an Alarm

Personality Changes

One of the more subtle signs that your teen may be drinking is a change in personality. If you’ve noticed your normally shy and reserved child becoming more outgoing or boisterous, this could be a red flag for alcohol abuse.

If your loved one is acting like their old self after days or weeks of acting strangely, it might mean they’re back to normal from abusing alcohol. If they drank heavily (or used other drugs) as recently as three days ago, but are now back to their old self again, this may indicate that they’re ready for treatment now that the effects have worn off.

School Performance

If your teen’s grades begin to drop, it could be due to alcohol use.

It's not uncommon for a student who drinks heavily to have poor school performance, including low grades and difficulty completing assignments. If you notice that your child is having problems in school, it may indicate an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

If your teen is getting in trouble at school or missing class frequently, this could also be an indicator that they are drinking too much.

Changes in Social Life

If your teen is drinking, they're likely to be hanging out with other teens who are also drinking. If you see changes in your child's social life that don't seem like typical teenage behavior, it could be a sign that they've started using alcohol or other drugs.

Changes in Behavior

Alcohol affects brain chemistry, which can result in mood swings or sudden personality changes. Other behavioral changes may include increased aggression or irritability, as well as depression or withdrawal from family and friends. These behaviors may occur when the teen is sober and continue after drinking stops.

Legal Consequences

As a parent, it's important to remember that legal consequences can be severe if your teen is caught drinking. In most states, the legal age for drinking is 21, but many teens will try to get around this by using fake IDs, which can lead to serious legal problems.

If you think your child is using alcohol or other drugs, take action now. The best thing you can do is talk with them about the dangers of substance use and encourage them not to experiment with substances without guidance from their doctor or healthcare provider.

Health Consequences

  • Alcohol is a depressant. It affects the body in many ways.

  • It can be addictive, causing physical dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms.

  • It can cause liver damage, brain damage, heart disease, stroke, and cancer (including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and breast).

  • Alcohol impairs memory and thinking ability.

  • Alcohol can cause vomiting or choking on one's own vomit while under the influence of alcohol (this is known as "passing out").

How to Stop Teen Drinking? Tips to Help Your Teen Quit

Education is Key

Education is key when it comes to stopping teen drinking. Teens need a clear understanding of the dangers of alcohol abuse, including long-term effects like liver disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. They also need to know about the dangers of driving under the influence (DUI) and how drinking affects their bodies at different stages of development.

As a parent, you play an important role in helping your teen understand why alcohol is harmful to them during adolescence. You should also be able to identify signs that your child may be using alcohol or other drugs so that you can intervene before it becomes an addiction problem.

Be a Positive Influence

It is important to be a positive influence in your teen's life. Follow these tips to set the right example:

  • Don't drink in front of your teens. If they see you drinking, they may think it's normal behavior and try it themselves.

  • Don't drink while they are in the house. If one of your teens is over at your house and you want to have a glass of wine with dinner, ask them if they'd like something else instead, like soda or juice.

  • Don't drink while they are in the car. If you're driving and need something to calm your nerves after an argument with one of your kids while traveling together, try taking deep breaths until you feel settled enough not to get angry again so fast—this way no one gets hurt! It also helps keep everyone safe from accidents caused by distracted drivers who aren't focused on driving safely because their emotions got out of control earlier on during travel time (e.,g., someone threw up all over themselves inside their vehicle which would likely cause others riding along with them too).

Establish Clear Rules

The first step to helping your teen stop drinking is establishing clear rules that are easy to follow. Make sure that you are consistent in enforcing the rules and make them reasonable. It’s also important that they be easy for everyone to understand (teens included).

You should also make sure that they aren’t too restrictive, because if you set up your house as “no fun allowed” for your kids, then it may be difficult for them to relate with their peers who can go out and enjoy themselves.

The main thing here is balance—you want reasonable but not too lenient expectations about alcohol use so that there is room for some experimentation without going overboard or getting into trouble with the law or other people around them who might not appreciate their risky behavior as much as you do.

Eliminate Temptation

Try to eliminate temptation. If you keep alcohol in your home, it can be very tempting for a teenager who wants to experiment with drinking. If you do have alcohol in the house, make sure that nobody has access to it except you and your spouse. Keep all alcoholic beverages locked away in a cabinet or safe place where only adults have access.

If you don't have any alcohol at home, then encourage your child not to bring friends over if they are coming over to drink or smoke marijuana together. It's easier for them not to start drinking if they aren't tempted by their peers who do drink at home or at parties where there is beer available for purchase (or free).


After reading through this article, you should be able to recognize the signs of teen drinking. If you’re concerned about your teen, try talking to them about it and making sure that they’re getting help from a professional.

If you’re at your wit’s end with a loved one and don’t know what else to do, you’ve come to the right place. Let our team work to create a customized plan that will help your family come back together and move forward successfully.


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