Addiction psychiatrist: Alcohol could stunt your teen’s emotional growth

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The College of Psychiatry of Ireland has warned that inaccurate advice has been given to parents on the merits of introducing alcohol to teenagers at home.

 “Teenagers brains are still developing so drinking alcohol at this crucial stage interferes with that development and slows it down ” said Dr William Flannery, Addiction Psychiatrist.  “The teen years are also crucial stages for developing skills and confidence in how to deal with social situations and various problems that life throws at us. If they are consuming alcohol in these years then their ability to deal with relationships, emotional situations and life ’s challenges   in their twenties is impaired as they may only have coped in these circumstances by using alcohol to support them ” he explained.

The College claims the longer teenagers are kept away from alcohol the less likely they are to have an alcohol problem as an adult, and offered the following tips for parents:

 • Demonstrate that it is possible to socialise without any alcohol yourself. Actively support your teenager ’s participation in positive social activity such as arts, drama, sport and youth clubs.

 • Have clear general household and family rules and expectations. Monitor and affirm your teenager ’s adherence to these.

 • Work on positive communication, making sure your teenager knows that you notice their strengths and positive attributes.

 • Demonstrate an active interest in your teenager ’s social life and leisure time, getting to know where they are, who they are with, who they are in contact with in person and on-line.