Growing up in today’s age of social media, movies, and music, it’s not hard to understand that there is a very unreal and misleading portrayal of how alcohol affects your body, mind, and behavior. It’s easy for teens and young adults to create pictures of fun and adventure, with regards to alcohol, and romanticized scenarios when they have access to these media at the tips of their fingers with a simple click of a button.
The important thing here, is to make sure that our youth understand the bad and the ugly associated with drinking, not just the idealization of good. Sure, when we ask students about alcohol, on some level they understand that there are risks. When asking teens how they think 1-2 drinks of alcohol affects their body, we often get answers like “sick”, “dizzy”, and the occasional “mean”, however, there are also answers of “happy”, “bold”, and “fun”. These array of answers makes us question whether or not they really understand the physical effects of alcohol and certainly reminds us how important education is.
The best thing we can do for our youth, is to inform them. We need to inform them with science-based facts and not with the “just say no” approach or “because I said so”. We need to fill and infiltrate our youth’s minds with information to help them better navigate their path when presented with the choice of to drink or not to drink.
“Debunking” myths and misconceptions with your teen is a great step in insuring that your child(ren) really understand alcohol and its effects, before they are present in these situations.
There are many sites available online that help unravel these common myths and misconceptions.
- “LifeWorks”, a rehabilitation center in England, compiled a list of 10 common myths and misconceptions. Their article can be found here, https://www.lifeworkscommunity.com/blog/top-ten-misconceptions-about-alcohol.
- “BACtrack”, a company that specializes in making breathalyzers, shares an articles about 16 common misconceptions here, https://www.bactrack.com/blogs/expert-center/34759685-16-common-misconceptions-about-alcohol.
- Finally, “CollegeDrinking” a website for alcohol prevention created a “myth” section on their website sharing 7 common myths about drinking, found here https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/specialfeatures/alcoholmyths.aspx.