Bottle, alcohol and adolescents: a cocktail of risk

The definition of the RAE does not help us much. Botellón: "Aumentativo de botella". This brief statement does not cover the magnitude of the phenomenon that defines youth leisure in Spain for a few years. Perhaps, at present it does not appear so much in the media, but the bottle It is a dangerous practice for teenagers, who increasingly start drinking alcohol at a younger age.

And parents, they are also more aware. According to the study The values ​​and patterns of family interaction in adolescence, parents say that it is one of the most important problems that today afflicts adolescents.

Alcohol = fun for teenagers?

The consumption of alcohol begins in our country at present at 12 or 13 years. Adolescents in third and fourth grade of ESO consume it in high percentages in a "natural and accepted" way (UNED, Julio, 2003). It is very widespread among them, especially on weekends. This consumption is associated in general with a playful concept of leisure, of good life.

According to Professor Petra M. Pérez, children must be taught to be capable of making responsible decisions regarding the alcohol consumption, Do not believe that alcohol consumption is necessary to solve your problems, have fun or feel good. People who get drunk do so because they drink without measure, have false beliefs about what it means to be drunk or do not stop to think about the consequences:

- They think that drinking can forget the problems.
- They think it will be easier for them relate to otherss.
- They think it's good "do" what everyone does, because it gives them security.
- They believe that the drink produces new sensations.
- They think they are able to "control" their efects.
- They feel more important, more free and uninhibited.

People abuse alcohol, probably because of the final result produced by the combination of "stimulant and anxiolytic" effects that, in turn, act as reinforcement for their consumption.

Parents have the word to avoid alcohol consumption among adolescents

The example of parents and good communication with the family are essential to prevent and avoid alcohol consumption. According to Professor Petra M. Pérez: "sharing leisure time with the family is one of the best ways to really get to know the children and gain their trust, so when worries and problems arise, it is easier to know them and to approach them, because there is a formalized relationship of love and trust. " What can we parents do?

1. Teach them to be assertive.Being assertive means showing yourself. It involves the communication of opinions, beliefs, feelings and desires directly, inducing others to take them into account, so that a respectful, mutually satisfactory relationship can be achieved. It implies knowing how to say "no" properly and not letting others exercise control over us that prevents us from expressing ourselves freely, through shyness, insecurity or through intimidation, indifference, etc. We must help children prepare to face situations in an assertive manner in which they are pressured to consume alcohol, practicing effective ways of saying "no" in other situations.

2. Teach them to develop their self-control.Developing self-control means teaching them to resist temptation, delay gratification and overcome frustration. Exercise willpower and the ability to sacrifice for a future goal. All this also contributes to the training of responsible decision making.

One way to develop self-control is achieved when they learn to delay gratification. The waiting time for gratification increases when they are taught to give themselves instructions ("I have to wait, now I can not play with the computer") or when the object is out of sight (for example, turn off and save the phone until the end of studying): Several studies have shown that if children are taught to delay gratification, in the long term they will be able to develop a greater ability to achieve personal decision making.

We have to teach them to endure what irritates them and to establish self-limits preparing them for the worst, so that they can accept it if necessary. Once they are willing to accept the worst (which is never as bad as they think) they are strong enough to continue in that direction, because they know they can cope.

3. Teach them to choose their friends. Belonging and being part of a group of friends is fundamental in the lives of adolescents. You have to teach them the real meaning of friendship (trust, respect, loyalty, mutual help) and how, if they put these values ​​into action, they can have good friends.However, if you feel pressured by your friends, before doing what you think is not right, ask yourself if they are really your friends and if it is worth continuing to keep them as such. Thus, we are encouraging them to think for themselves, to be independent and to know how to recognize when they should follow their friends or not.

Risk factors of the bottle between adolescents

According to the guide "Parents have the word", about the decision-making responsible for alcohol consumption, published by Cerveceros de España, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, there are some risk factors for alcohol consumption among teenagers:

- Adolescents belonging to families in which parents are excessively authoritarian or permissive they abuse alcohol consumption more than those whose parents are democratic or indifferent (Seura, M .; Menzau, N. UNED 2003).

- Low self-esteem of our children is a factor that greatly favors the irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

- Limited self-control exposes people to be at the mercy of the demands of the environment (influence of others, frustration, etc.). The development of self-control is the basis for making responsible decisions in all areas and how to avoid inappropriate behavior in relation to alcohol consumption.

- Education by example works better, It is not what we say but what we do. There is a seven times greater chance of having problems with alcohol when parents are irresponsible drinkers.

Practical advice to face the temptation of alcohol consumption

Be assertive:

- Know how to say "no" without getting upset, or getting angry. (For example: "no, thanks, I do not feel like it"; "at this moment I have to study and I can not leave", or "Look uncle, drink too much cause, cirrhosis and it's a bad feeling).

- Know how to distinguish situations in which it does not matter to yield to the wishes of others, of those, in which it is important to maintain one's own criteria, even if this supposes to be criticized.

- Know how to express your points of view and their desires without disturbing or hurting others. If their behaviors are adequate, they have the right to maintain them.


- Teens resist temptation, especially when they are explained and it provides a good reason or when they are taught to develop their own plans and strategies. For example: "it is better for your health that you do not smoke, because you will not perform on your team". "If you smoke a lot, you'll get wrinkles in your early twenties, in addition to possible cancer."

- In the development of his self-control, they must be able to regulate their behavior by themselves and be able to resist, not only frustration with failures, but also the pressures of others.

- There are other systems to relieve anxiety or dislike in a situation that does not dominate other than the consumption of alcohol.

Good friends:

- You must know how to distance yourself from the group in those situations where you want to do it. They are not friends that lead us to do what we do not want, and sometimes their pressure is so strong that it is best to flee.

Ricardo Regidor
Advisor:Petra M. Pérez, teacher.

Video: What Kids Drink: Adolescents' Alcohol Preferences

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