Alcohol affects a child’s developing brain much differently than an adult’s.
A child’s brain goes through rapid change and development between the ages of 10 to 21. Drinking alcohol before age 21 interferes with this development and can cause permanent brain damage.
Alcohol damage can cause your child to: Have poor judgment; develop social problems; get into trouble; have trouble learning and remembering information; do poorly in school; and have problems attaining lifelong goals.
Underage drinking can lead to early alcoholism. More than 40 percent of individuals who start drinking before the age of 15 become alcohol-dependent at some point in their lives. In contrast, people who begin drinking at the legal age of 21 have just a 7 percent chance of becoming addicted. Research shows 67 percent of teens who drink before age 15 will try other illicit drugs.