On the social impact of binge drinking and some of the social causes
One of the major indicators of why kids choose to partake in binge drinking (four or more drinks in one sitting for a woman and five or more drinks in one sitting for a man) is peer influence. Whether they’re doing it to be a part of a social group or gain [entry] into a social group, a lot of that decision-making comes from what their peers are doing.
On things we can do as parents to work through those decision-making skills before they give in to that kind of pressure
A lot of studies have shown that peer influence is a definite indicator of how often an adolescent may choose to binge drink. The additional studies show how an adolescent responds to that influence can determine how much of that risky behavior they partake in. How [adolescents] make the decisions are based upon how satisfied they are in their relationships and it can also be how socially confident they feel. If a child is very confident in their social skills and they are satisfied with the world around them, they feel more equipped to walk away from risky behaviors. It goes back to early childhood. Teaching kids those proper social skills and making sure they’re socially and emotionally healthy helps fight against negative peer influence in the future.
On some things we can do to help them grow better relationships with their peers to stand up to that kind of pressure
It’s a lot of talking. Parents of adolescents often think that you need to talk a lot about the legal decision to drink or not. We often miss that part of the reasons they’re battling with that is may be because of relational things. Switching the conversation to having healthy relationships with friends or a dating partner would help get to the root causes of why they’re making that decision. We think that just saying “no” to drinking is enough, but knowing the reason behind their decisions takes it a step further.