Study Shows Teens Who Are Impulsive Will Drink More
Does underage drinking make you more impulsive or is it impulsive children who are at higher risk of drinking alcohol and becoming alcoholic? While I suspect it is both, and that early drinking affects brain development (other studies have shown this to be true), this study clearly points to the impulsive children drinking more and that the drinking itself did not make them more impulsive.
With one in five boys now being ADHD and impulsive (have any of you raised teenage boys recently?), helping these young men navigate the teen years becomes more important than ever. I’ve raised 5 impulsive boys and I can assure you this is no easy task, and I have not done it as well as I would have liked. Here are a few tips directly from my own experience:
1. Don’t drink or use drugs yourself. Parents, you are kidding yourself if you think you can say “Do as I say, not as I do”. Get help with this if needed.
2. Find strengths and a talent or area of interest your child has and help them build on it and become a real expert. This builds self esteem.
3. You just must know where your teen is at all times, and activities right after school that keep them busy and engaged are very important.
4. Have frequent honest discussions about drinking and drugs and how you will reward them for making good choices. Role play how to say no to peers.
5. If driving is going to be an option for your teen, consider this a privilege that has to be earned and will be lost immediately if any alcohol or drugs are used.
– Our car had a midnight curfew (NO EXCEPTIONS)
– Must pass observed, random urine drug screens to maintain driving privileges (may not be necessary, but do them if any doubt)
– Avoid having your child own a car. It’s yours and it’s use can be revoked and will be revoked immediately for any drug or alcohol use.
6. Lot’s of praise for good behavior and for effort. Remember parents, not every child (especially our ADHD kids or those on the autism spectrum) will be a straight A student, even though they are probably very intelligent. Grades are not a good reflection of effort nor do they represent life success later on. I prefer that we reward effort. Think of this in academics and in sports. Not all kids are superstars on the basketball court or playing field. We want them to play for fun, play for exercise, and just be a part of something bigger if it’s a team sport. Praise effort regardless of who won the game. Praise effort regardless of the report card. As they approach the end of high school, be helping them plan a realistic adult future. College is not the best goal for some. Imagine the joy of being able to work and support yourself, for those who struggle with school. Consider online and YouTube classes, learning, and businesses or ways of making money.
If your child suffers from ADHD or has anxiety or impulsivity, and is my patient, I highly recommend we have an evaluation if we haven’t done this. There are many natural approaches that can benefit your child, from identifying nutrient deficiencies or food sensitivities to healing through diet and supplements. For some, medication can be a huge benefit while we work on the natural healing process.