BECAUSE YOU THINK IT’S EXPECTED OF YOU
There are a lot of unwritten rules about what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to be. It can be hard to stand up for yourself when faced with other peoples expectations – and that’s true whether you’re 14 or 44. And just like adults, teenagers naturally have their own norms, too. You might be worried that people will think you’re weird if you don’t drink on New Year’s Eve or bring your own bottle to the party.
TO GIVE ADULTHOOD A TRY
When you’re a teenager, you often want to feel like an adult, not a child. But if you think about it, there aren’t that many adult things that teenagers can or are allowed to do – things like living in your own apartment, being paid a monthly wage, or studying at university. Alcohol, on the other hand, is one of all these adult things that teenagers can get hold of, and sometimes it’s the desire to feel grown up that tempts teenagers to drink.
We were all young once, and maybe you remember that being a teenager was far from easy at times. As a teenager, you sometimes feel a little lost and alone, and more than anything else, you want to fit in. And that’s when alcohol can seem very tempting, because it can help make you feel like “part of the gang”. When other people are doing something, it’s often easier to just go along and do the same thing too – much easier than daring to say “no.”
You drink to try something new and to see what it's like being drunk.
Adrian, aged 15, Umeå
BECAUSE IT SEEMS EXCITING
It’s hardly surprising that teenagers are curious about alcohol. They’ve seen people drinking in films and TV programmes since they were young . And they’ve probably come across the odd drunken adult or two on Midsummer’s or New Year’s Eve. So one day, they might just want to try it themselves – how it tastes, how it works, and how it feels to be drunk.
BECAUSE THEY DON’T FEEL GOOD.
There’s a clear link between mental health and alcohol. Young people who say they don’t feel good about themselves drink more often and in bigger quantities than the rest of their age group. Among those who drink, there are also teenagers who end up feeling worse as a direct result of their drinking. If you’re worried that your teenager is unhappy and is drinking, you’ll find a list of organisations that offer more information and support here.
You're scared that if you don't drink, people will slag you off to others. Tell them that you're boring, stuff like that.
Petrus, aged 16, Gothenburg
All this new friends, sex and intimacy thing can be sensitive subjects. And alcohol can feel like something that helps you take that first leap into the unknown. It can make you feel both a bit braver and a bit more attractive. And if it doesn’t quite work out as you’d hoped, you can always blame the alcohol. Just like an adult.
BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE PART OF LIFE.
TV shows and films show people drinking quite large amounts of alcohol with no particular ill effects. Young people are constantly being bombarded with pictures of fancy drinks at a Sunday brunch or wine glasses in the sunset on social media. And young people are exposed to alcohol advertising, too, because some alcohol producers try to influence potential customers even before they’re allowed to buy alcohol, by advertising in places where young people can be found, like social media.