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How to Tell if Your Child is Drinking Alcohol

Nationally, the percentage of youth who try alcohol doubles between a child's middle school and high school years. There is a good chance that kids will be confronted with situations where alcohol is involved. While many parents of teens don't think their children will ever drink, the truth is, most teens experiment with alcohol. It's important to know the warning signs that your teen has been drinking.

Signs Before Drinking Happens

Teens who are planning a party or gathering where they will be drinking usually show several telltale signs. Be on the lookout for:

  • Your teen carrying a duffel, tote bag, or even a school backpack. They may be transporting alcohol from your home to the party.

  • Hushed tones and whispers when your teen uses the phone. Of course, in today's world, many teens are communicating via text or social media as well, so monitor your teen's accounts.

  • Evasive answers to questions about their activities. If your teen hesitates when you ask what they're doing, it could be a sign they're trying to think of a good cover story.

  • Asking to spend the night. If your teen insists they want to stay over at a friend's house, it may mean they don't want to come home under the influence.

Signs Your Teen Has Been Drinking

If your teen comes home from a party and you smell alcohol on their breath or clothing, it is a sure sign they've been drinking. They may try to evade you or lie about why they smell like alcohol.

If your teen is stumbling, slurring their speech, or acting out of character, these are also signs that there has been alcohol or drug use.

Be on the lookout for signs a hangover in the morning, too. If your teen suddenly gets the "flu" after being out with friends, they may be trying to disguise a hangover. Here are some signs your teen may have consumed alcohol

  • Lowered inhibitions

  • Poor concentration

  • Slow reflexes

  • Slow reaction time

  • Reduced coordination

  • Slower brain activity

  • Sensations and perceptions that are less clear

  • Slurred speech

  • Sleepiness

  • Altered emotions

  • Poor vision

  • Sleepiness and disruption of sleeping patterns

  • Increased urine production

  • More blood flow to skin/s surface

  • Lower core body temperature

Warning Signs Your Teen Has a Drinking Problem

Although the following signs may indicate a problem with alcohol or other drugs, some also reflect normal growing pains. Experts believe that a drinking problem is more likely if you notice several of these signs at the same time, if they occur suddenly, or if some of them are extreme in nature.

  • Mood changes: flare-ups of temper, irritability, and defensiveness

  • School problems: poor attendance, low grades, and/or recent disciplinary action

  • Rebellion against family rules

  • Friend changes: switching friends and a reluctance to let you get to know the new friends

  • A “nothing matters” attitude: sloppy appearance, a lack of involvement in former interests, and general low energy

  • Alcohol presence: finding it in your child’s room or backpack or smelling alcohol on his or her breath

  • Physical or mental problems: memory lapses, poor concentration, bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, or slurred speech

Source: https://www.verywellfamily.com/has-my-teenager-been-drinking-alcohol-2609067

Source: https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking/parent-resources/how-tell-if-your-child-drinking-alcohol

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