As a teenager, you are surrounded with a lot of pressures from your peers, one of the biggest being the pressure to fit in with the group. Sometimes fitting in involves doing things that may not be for you, one of them being the consumption of alcohol.
Underage drinking can not only have short-term consequences, it also can affect the way your body and mind operate in the future. When you are a teenager, your body and mind are still developing. Alcohol can mess with your body’s development, causing some serious health issues down the line and may also increase your risk for your brain to have an addiction to the substance in the future.
Although staying away from underage drinking is encouraged, we understand that it has a large presence in the teenage social scene. So what do you do when it seems like you are presented with no other options? Here are some tips on how you can stay away from alcohol and still keep the fun in your weekends with friends.
-Surround yourself with positive friends: When you are young, we understand that it is very easy to “fall into the wrong crowd.” It’s important to be aware of your friend’s habits, making sure that they are a positive influence on the choices you make. Surrounding yourself with people who make good choices will lead to you making better choices as well.
-Get involved in non-alcoholic events: You don’t need alcohol to have fun! Go to a movie with friends, get involved in a community event or ask your parents if you can throw a get-together with a few friends and make fun and tasty non-alcoholic drinks instead.
-Be honest with your parents: Talking to your parents about a weekend party may be the last thing you want to do, but being honest with them will help build the necessary trust for you to stay safe and make better decisions. You may be too embarrassed to talk to your friends about your concerns with drinking; use your parents as an outlet to voice your fears and answer any questions you may have.
-Educate yourself: The best way to learn about the dangers of alcohol is to learn as much as possible on your own. When you are educated about the consequences, you can make better decisions about your own health.
-Plan ahead and learn to say “NO:” No matter how much you try to avoid it, there may come a time where you are offered a drink while out with friends. It’s important to know that your real friends won’t mind if you deny their offer. Make a plan of someone that you can call if you feel uncomfortable and want to leave the party. Don’t let others make this decision for you; you have the right to say no!