There are some cases in which teenagers accidentally break alcohol laws. For instance, maybe a foreign exchange student doesn’t realize that the drinking age is 21 in the United States. Or, perhaps a high school student doesn’t know that the beverage they’re consuming has been spiked at a party, so they’re drinking alcohol without knowing it.
But for the most part, teenagers are all well aware that it is illegal for them to drink alcohol. If they get caught, they could be arrested and face serious ramifications. So why do they do it anyway?
They are curious
In some cases, it’s just curiosity. Adults are allowed to drink, teenagers are curious about what it’s like, and so they will engage in drinking before they turn 21. They just want to know what it’s like and they assume that they won’t get caught, especially if they don’t do it often.
They want to fit in
Often, drinking is a part of fitting in with a social group. If one teenager at a party isn’t drinking and everyone else is, for instance, they can feel a lot of peer pressure. They may be worried about being marginalized if they don’t engage in the same activities as the rest of the group.
They are seeking a specific experience
Finally, some young people want to become intoxicated as a means of exploration, or just to have that specific experience. They may enjoy it, or they may even see it as a challenge. For instance, studies have found that young people don’t drink as frequently as adults do, but that binge drinking is much more common. So their goal could be intoxication from the very beginning.
Do you have a teenager who has been arrested on allegations of underage drinking? If so, be sure you know what steps to take to focus on the future.