What You Didn’t Know: Your Teen’s Attitude Towards Alcohol Is the Biggest Influence

How attitude influences teenagers thoughts towards alcoholMany of us can remember vague memories from our teenage years, but we may have some difficulties recalling our thought processes at the time. It seems that once we’re well into adulthood, we have trouble understanding what our own teens are going through – and this can make it more difficult to work with them when it comes to preventing substance abuse. Teenage years are some of the most vulnerable years, because the teen brain is still developing. The better we can understand how teens are thinking, the more capable we will be of working with them to ensure they know what to do in situations that could place them at risk for addiction.

A 2016 study published in the journal Health Psychology followed 868 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 years old for three years. That found that implicit attitudes actually predicted future drinking behavior one year later; the researchers also found that if the adolescents’ parents approved of drinking, their implicit attitude was more likely to favorably view drinking, too. This leads us to one key question: what exactly is implicit attitude?

The dictionary defines it as, “Evaluations that occur without conscious awareness towards an attitude, object, or the self.” When we hold an implicit attitude, it’s not something that we’re directly aware of, but it is shaped by our environment and experiences. If implicit attitudes are having such a strong impact on our teens, how can we influence those attitudes as parents, family members and community members?

A 2017 study titled, “A Different View on Parenting: Automatic and Explicit Parenting Cognitions in Adolescent’s Drinking Behavior” emphasized that too often, parents underestimate the extent of their teens’ drinking behavior. By showing our teens responsible drinking and expressing our disapproval of binge drinking, we may influence our teens’ perceptions of alcohol.

Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.