As the parent of a teenager, one of the main things that you might worry about is whether or not your teen is drinking or using drugs. Unfortunately, alcohol use is surprisingly common among teenagers, so it's definitely something that you should watch out for. These are a few behavioral changes that could be a sign that your teen is using alcohol.

Changing Friends

If your teen has had the same friends for many years but is now suddenly hanging out with different people, alcohol could be involved. Some teens are influenced by others, and some actually seek out other friends who are interested in trying things like drinking. Your teen might also suddenly have older friends who might be able to purchase alcohol or who might have their own friends who can. Another sign to look out for is if your teen does not want you to meet his or her new friends.

School-Related Changes

If your teen has always gotten good grades but suddenly doesn't seem interested in school or has started getting bad grades, you should definitely be concerned. You should also look out for unexplained absences, which could be a sign that your teen is skipping school. After you have ruled out a learning disability or another similar issue, you may want to start looking for other clues of substance abuse.

Spending Less Time at Home

It's only natural that your teen will want to spend time with friends and participate in social activities now that he or she is getting older. However, you should pay attention to what your teen is doing if he or she is suddenly spending a lot less time at home. This is especially true if your teen doesn't seem to want to tell you where he or she is going or what he or she is doing, if your teen comes home late at night or seems to be spending the night away from home, such as at a friend's house, more often than usual.

Spending More Money

If your teen has been spending more money than usual but doesn't have anything to show for it, you should be concerned. Alcohol is not cheap, and it could be where your son or daughter is spending his or her money.

There are a few different clues that you can look out for if you fear that your teen might be drinking. If you notice any of these clues, it might be time to look into whether or not your teen has a chemical dependency to alcohol. Luckily, there are many resources out there that you can use for help if this is the case. Check out sites like for more information.