Bullying and Substance Abuse
We normally associate alcoholism or substance abuse with adults.
However, today in our modern society alcohol and substance abuse is rapidly creeping down in the age groups.
Alcoholism, or alcohol abuse, is a problem is beginning to affect many parts of society.
It comes with an emotional cost as well as a financial cost.
There are no clear figures for the cost of young adult alcoholism in the US or in the UK.
But, the overall cost of alcoholism in the UK is estimated to cost the taxpayer a staggering21 billion per year.
In other words, it is a huge drain on public resources and money.
What Drives Young People to Drink?
Young people do have a need to be cool, and often succumb to peer pressure.
Many young adults start to drink because they have a friend who does so.
But, there are other reasons why many adolescents drink.
Bullying is a huge problem in schools. Young adults who are bullied in school are much more likely to drink as they are not sure how to deal with the problem themselves.
No matter what, parents often feel helpless when it comes to cases of bullying in school. They may not even be aware of the problem.
Not only does bullying take place in schools, but these days, it also takes place in cyberspace.
It is just as easy to bully someone online as it is in the “real world”.
Bullying makes you feel bad about yourself, and subsequently, you start to drink or abuse other substances.
Should We Talk About Bullying and Substance Abuse in Schools?
Schools try to foster as much as they can. Recently, schools in the UK have been encouraged to adopt a variety of agendas which, when you look at them closer, do not seem strictly academic.
The LGBT community has managed to make inroads into the UK educational system and children are now being taught the basic facts about the LGBT community.
Although this is an important topic, it does make you wonder if focusing on educating kids about substance abuse and bullying would be more worthwhile.
After all, alcoholism does cost society more money than any perceived problems with the LGBT community.
How Do You Know Your Child is Being Bullied in School?
It is hard to know when your child is being bullied in school.
Often bullying seems to start at an early age and follow the child through his or her education.
You get stuck in the same crowd and others within your crowd bully you.
If your child appears to withdraw from you and is reluctant to talk about his day in school, that is when you need to start to pay attention. The first thing you should do is to talk to your child.
Also, check his social media. Bullies often like to bully via social media as well as in school.
When you do spot a problem, you need to take action. Getting to the bottom of bullying as soon as possible can prevent many future problems.
Other signs to look out for is problems with sleep and unexplained temper tantrums.
A reluctance to socialize with other children or young adults is another symptom to look out for.
How Does Alcoholism Fit into All of This?
Very young children who are bullied will not resort to alcoholism. But, should you discover that your child seems to have a problem with bullying around the age of 12, you really need to start to pay particular attention.
By then, many schools like to classify children as young adults and offer less supervision.
The truth is that around the age of 12, you are still a child and need as much guidance as possible.
Children who are bullied often pull together and start to gather in groups.
They seem to have their own alternative lifestyle, and regrettably, many do start to drink alcohol.
It is their way of dealing with the problem of bullying. It can be called a coping strategy.
It is hard to talk about bullying, so drinking, or taking drugs, is a way of forgetting about the problem.
How Do You Know if Your Child is Drinking Alcohol?
Parents are not really equipped to spot the signs of alcoholism. That does not mean that you can’t do it.
Needless to say, you should look out for signs of intoxication such as slurred speech and falling asleep.
Children who drink always have problems in school and often fall behind in class.
They find completing simple tasks more challenging and their school reports often show falling academic results.
It is a matter of finding out what is going on in your child’s life.
That is not always easy.
Most parents work and finding the time to spend quality time together is not always possible.
What Should You Do If You Find Out Your Child is Drinking?
If you do find out your child is drinking alcohol or taking rugs, you need to get help. Don’t try to handle this problem on your own.
Trying to go it alone is one of the worst things you can do. There is no way you are going to succeed.
From the very start, you need to get the professionals involved.
The sooner the better you find the relevant help, the earlier your child will recover.
Unfortunately, in all countries across the world, there are very few public resources to deal with the problem.
Helping your child to deal with substance abuse and bullying may be something that you have to foot the bill for yourself.
Help! My Child Drinks Alcohol and Is Being Bullied
There are some things you simply must not do when you discover your child has a problem.
Getting angry with your child is not going to help. That is only going to make your child withdraw from you even more.
Keep calm and stay cool, that is how you are going to help your child to cope with the situation.
It may be tempting to blame the school. The school is not always at fault, and as a matter of a fact, this is your responsibility as a parent.
Both mum and dad need to deal with the situation.
Sure, let the school know what is going on, but don’t do so unless you know all of the facts.
The truth will often come out during early counselling sessions.
Once you know more, that is when you should approach your child’s school. Instead of focusing on placing the blame on someone, take a positive attitude and sort out the problem instead.
It is highly unlikely that it is only your child who is affected.
Finding an overall complete solution is the best way forward.
The problem may be more extensive than you think, but by dealing with your part of the problem, you have started the ball rolling.
Health Problems and Alcohol
Children who drink will suffer from the same health problems as adults who drink. There is no top ten as health is such an individual matter.
For instance, liver problems may manifest themselves at an early stage.
Pain below the right rib is often a sign of liver problems.
Other health problems include frequent infections and problems sleeping.
Depression and anxiety are also two symptoms which you should look out for.
Many of these symptoms you are not going to make sense of yourself. You need to contact a professional as soon as possible.
They will start to look into your child’s health and find out what is going.
How quickly can your child become addicted to alcohol?
Children can become addicted to alcohol very quickly. Once addicted, the habit can stay with them for the rest of their lives.
So can the effects of bullying and you need to be aware of that as well.
Should You Move Away?
Many adults try to solve the problem by moving away. This does not really work. You are more likely to take your problems with you.
This is all about using the right kind of problem-solving skills.
What you need to appreciate is that this is not a problem you are going to solve yourself. Moving away is simply not going to do it.
Your child is likely to end up in a similar group and have the same problems.
The Future of Child Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Putting the brakes on child alcoholism and substance abuse is going to be difficult. Young adolescents find it is easy to get hold of alcohol and even drugs, and there are many different ways of doing so.
Is there a link to binge drinking? Binge drinking is a big problem in the UK.
However, it is not clear when the problem starts. Could it be that binge drinking and childhood alcoholism are linked?
Many adults who carry on drinking throughout their lives do have a history of drinking as young adolescents.
Finding a trigger point for alcoholism is hard to do, but surprisingly, many alcoholics have been drinking for a long time.
It could be argued that if we want to tackle the overall problem with alcohol, we need to address youth alcoholism and substance abuse.
Drinking is habit-forming and once you to start to drink, you are likely to have a problem with alcohol for the rest of your life.
We drink alcohol for many different reasons. Drinking for the wrong reasons is what cause alcoholism.
Every alcoholic has a history of problems and it does make you wonder when it starts.
The answer can often be found in childhood experiences.