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?
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.
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.
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:
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