PSA: Talk To Your Teens About Binge Drinking

Do you talk to your kids about drinking? Do you tell them you hope they don’t drink? Do you stress that if they do drink they are to take a cab or call you for a ride?

Probably.

Has it ever occurred to you to talk to them about how to drink if they choose to do so. Only a couple of beers. No hard alcohol, but just in case use mixers. NEVER drink straight from a bottle.

Unlikely.

Talking about binge drinking to my teens never occurred to me and it almost cost me one of the most precious things I have.

According to Monitoring the Future:

33% of 8th graders and 70% of 12th graders had tried alcohol, and 13% of 8th graders and 40% of 12th graders drank during the past month

According to the CDC:

22% of teenagers said they had binge drank.

In 2008, about 190,000 people under 21 years old visited an emergency room for an alcohol-related injury or condition.

While it’s all alarming what concerns me the most is the 22% who binge drank.

Talk to your teens about binge drinking. VERY. IMPORTANT!When I was in high school, we drank. We went to parties where kegs had been purchased and we sat around for hours with our red cups filled with beer. And? Beer was disgusting so we usually had two and that was it. We never drank hard alcohol.

That was when parents were less involved and had less knowledge of what was going on. We are more on top of our kids these days. We have cell phones that provide GPS. We make phone calls to parents checking on our kids and make sure they are where they say they will be. We make sure if kids are coming over we pay attention because we have seen the news, we were once teens and we are aware. We have the internet, we know what might happen, so we fight to keep our kids safe the best we know how.

Our teens have to be sneakier about their alcohol intake.

Just like most of us did (and the stats show MOST of us) our teens are finding ways to drink. They can’t just go buy kegs now because getting a fake ID is a hell of a lot harder, so keggers, like dinosaurs, have become extinct.

Instead, they are drinking vodka. You know why? Because it’s clear and can’t be detected in a water bottle and they can find it for free in most households. They are taking the alcohol from your liquor cabinet. It’s the easiest way to get it. And they aren’t using mixers. They are doing shots. Straight. From. The. Bottle.

Think your child would never be that kid? Think they are smarter than that? So did I, until I lay next to my son in a hospital bed crying and waiting hours for him to regain consciousness. He was lucky. He did. He was lucky because he was on his side when he vomited. Your child may not be that lucky.

Every time I have shared our story, EVERY SINGLE TIME, someone has told me a story about their child or a child they know doing the same. Far too many of those stories don’t have a happy ending.

As we were being released, the ER doctor said to my son, “You are a very lucky young man, most of the cases I see don’t end this way.”
Talk to your kids about drinking. Tell them you prefer they don’t, but also tell them how to drink. Explain binge drinking and it’s dangers.
As is my constant theme on Ooph and has been for as long as it has existed. Talk to your kids. Talk to them often. About big things like this, but never forget to talk to them about the small things and listen when they answer. That is how you make them willing to talk to you and listen to you when it’s big.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning:

Discuss the symptoms with your sons and daughters so they can help a friend in need, not just assume they will sleep it off:

Seizures
Shaking
Vomiting several times
Changes in breathing (slow or irregular)
Cold, clammy skin
Blue or very pale skin
Drop in body temperature
Passed out and difficult to rouse

Comments

  1. TheNextMartha says

    Wow. I’m so glad for your outcome. I can’t imagine the terror you must have felt. This is important information. Thank you for sharing.

  2. says

    oh my gosh Stefanie! How scary! I am so happy to hear that everything ended ok. My kids are young and our conversations about this are a bit of a ways off but I so agree with you….parents need to talk to their kids. They need to let them know that they understand, that they will listen to them. I think so many parents ban things without even explaining it, or are lying to themselves saying “my kid would never do that” and that can make things even worse. Then the kids are sneaking around and have no idea what they are doing.
    I also know first hand they steal from the liquor cabinets….because that’s what I did. We used to make something we called “jungle juice”, it was potent.
    Thank your for sharing, I hope it will alert some parents into talking with their kids

  3. says

    A hugely important message. When I was in college, one of the kids in our residence hall died of alcohol poisoning. Until then I had no idea you could drink enough to die. Changed my life forever. And yes, I have told my kids that story, and I will tell them your son’s too. Thank you.

  4. says

    How scary! I am so glad your son was okay!

    We drank beer and hard alcohol (Captain Morgan’s was the big thing) and wine and wine coolers. We were very lucky we all made it through high school alive.

  5. says

    Thank you for not only sharing the stats and data but the very personal story. I’m so glad the outcome was good for your son and your family.. I think we also need to let our kids know that besides the direct effects that may happen with binge drinking there can be other issues, the most often ignored is sexual assault. For both our sons and daughters, they are very vulnerable when they are excessively drunk or passed out. (see Stubenville) But, even if they are not sexually assaulted the photos their “friends” take and post on social media are also a long-term consequence of their poor choice.

    I feel so old when I think “back in the day”, but truly we grew up at a time where we didn’t have to think about all this stuff. But that doesn’t mean we ignore it as parents. These are challenging conversations, but our kid’s lives are worth the moments of being uncomfortable.

    Thanks again, Stefanie!

  6. says

    I’m so glad your story ended the way it did. And you’re right; talking is key. We don’t want teens to drink, but we know that they likely will; it’s best they do so aware of what can happen. I started drinking in middle school, actually. Eighth grade. EIGHTH GRADE. Private Stock beers that I detested but eventually grew to tolerate. It wasn’t long before I graduated to hard liquor. To this day, the smell of tequila makes me happy, even though I’ve stopped drinking it (temporarily? I haven’t decided yet, but for now, I just simply am not). My 12 yr old asked once, as I was having a drink at home, if I’d ever been drunk. Oh, how I wanted to lie. But you know what? There are some things I will probably not tell the truth about (there will always be that one guy I had sex with that I simply do not count!) but drinking is not one of them.

  7. says

    I had a close friend in highschool slip into a coma for several weeks due to alcohol poisoning. My boys are still young, but the conversations will begin early. I’m so glad your son is okay – I can’t even imagine what that must have been like for both of you.

  8. says

    The doctor is right, you got lucky. It is really hard for parents to be see-all, know-all so we shouldn’t try. That’s not going to protect them, but talking to them and educating them will give them a better sense. When parents assume its not their kids, that is an unsafe assumption. At my school it was a lot of the kids you’d least expect that we’re “getting into trouble.” I’m so glad you wrote this post. It might just save a life.

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