If we look at statistics we will be shocked with the numbers. Twenty first century societies of different countries are facing the problem of teenage alcoholism. There is a tendency that the amount of young people who drink is rising and the approximate age when they start drinking is getting lower. Many psychologists and sociologists are trying to tackle this problem, but it still remains and brings fear to older people.
There is a set of questions that arises when we think about alcoholism. What are the causes? What are the effects? What are the means to decrease the level of drinking teenagers? What does it mean for their parents, for society and for teenagers themselves?
First of all, let us focus on the causes of such a matter. Many scientists claim that the crucial reason for this problem is the consumerism of modern western societies. Young people watch films and advertisements where cool guys and girls drink alcohol. Consequently, teenagers conclude that in order to be cool and famous you should drink. They see alcohol as means to gain popularity within their peers. Moreover, many youngsters who do not want to drink are often forced to participate by their friends.
It is easy to imagine a situation where the whole group is laughing at one person who decided to buy juice instead of beer. Those who do not drink are often considered to be boring and too attached to their parents. Another situation is when teenagers are partying and those who do not drink alcohol feel awkward and uncomfortable. They see the drunk happy faces of their friends and start to believe that alcohol is the only way of enjoying the party.
There are also attitudes to this subject where scientists believe that the most influential cause of this phenomenon is prohibition. When a child grows up in a family where alcohol is banned and there are rather strict rules on how to bring up children, the child may start drinking alcohol. The fact of drinking will be a demonstration of a protest against strict parents. Children mostly do not understand how it may harm them. They only want to get more freedom.
Moreover, there is a possibility of an opposite interpretation of such behavior. When parents do not take care of their offspring at all, their child may start drinking just in order to gain their attention. Children start to harm themselves so that parents will have to treat them better. It is especially noticeable in families where a mother or a father is an alcoholic or drug addict. Then teenagers are just repeating the behavior of their parents. The question of causes is rather difficult because there are certain contradictions. For example, there can be a teenager, who started drinking because their parents were alcoholics. On the other side, there can be teenagers who never drink just for the same reason. The same situation is with those parents who were bringing up their children rigorously.
The effects of teenage alcoholism are still not investigated completely. The reason for this is the fact that such teenage behavior is a rather new phenomenon. Of course, throughout history we can observe many examples of teenage alcoholism, however it cannot be compared to the modern situation. That is because the attitude to children was different. There was no such thing as teenagers at all. Young people were considered to be the same as old people. There was not such a big division between young and old. Moreover, the type of drinking and the alcohol has changed since then. That is why scientists are not trying to explain current processes by using certain historical cases.
When speaking of the effects we should distinguish those, which are investigated by natural sciences and those, which are considered to be the task of humanities. Many doctors, biologists and psychologists claim that when alcohol is consumed at a young age, it has a bigger risk to damage the health of teenagers. An organism of a teenager is not developed completely and alcohol prevents its complete development. Many young people may have illnesses that are considered to be the illnesses of old people. Moreover, there is a possibility of dying earlier. However, those are the general effects of alcohol and until now we can read many scientific discussions on this topic.
Social sciences, on the other hand, are painting a rather sad and horrible picture of our possible future in case the tendency of drinking teenagers will remain. They claim that the addiction to alcohol within youngsters ruins the basics of civilized society. Teenagers become more aggressive, disobedient and violent. This causes many destructive processes within society such as massive demonstrations and vandalism. As their mental health becomes unstable, teenagers run from responsibility, cannot work properly focusing on the subject fully, and are more likely to be depressed permanently. All of those factors lead to pessimistic views on our future in general.
As for the means to tackle this problem, there are many concepts and approaches. Certain people think that the best way of fighting against teenage alcoholism is to make our rules even more strict and to improve our means of control. However, this seems to be a bad idea, especially when we take into account that many teenagers drink just because it is prohibited.
Another approach is to concentrate on our culture. Experts claim that the best way of tackling the problem of alcoholism is to change our advertising and film production. They are eager to fight against the current myth of a drinking person as a cool one. They believe that with the help of proper social advertising and educational programs we will be able to reduce the level of drinking youngsters to a minimum. Once again we see that this question is a rather complex one and sometimes there can be opposite views.
It may be that if we take a middle path, we will be able to achieve better results. It means that when parents will not prohibit alcohol and moreover offer their children a small glass of wine during dinner, the whole situation may change. Children will stop paying attention to alcohol as something special and will start perceiving it as an ordinary thing, as an apple, which you can eat, but right now you do not want to.