For many 18-year-olds, the “gap year” in Israel, can be a period of independence, growth, and self-discovery. For the first time in their lives, these teenagers experience the freedom of living away from parental supervision, managing their own schedule and lifestyle, and choosing their own friends and social activities. This freedom can be exciting and promising. For some teenagers, this independence creates space to grow, learn, and mature, while others don’t know what to do with their newly discovered freedom and make poor choices.
Risky behavior on Israel gap year programs
The availability and legality of alcohol plus the absence of parents and desire to fit in sets the stage for potentially risky behavior. During their Israel gap year, many students encounter pressure to drink excessively or even experiment with drugs.
With the drinking age in Israel set to 18, many teenagers experience the thrill and novelty of “being legal” and newly able to participate in the bar and club scene. Because these “newbies” are largely inexperienced, this sudden shift to being legal can lead to binge drinking and other irresponsible behavior.
Teenagers inevitably experience social pressure to drink and, when living with their peers, this pressure to fit in is exacerbated.
Sadly, every year Israel gap year students are treated for alcohol-related injuries, and students have even died from alcohol poisoning.
What can parents do?
Many teenagers incorrectly believe they are invincible and immune to getting hurt. At the same time, many parents think their children are safely monitored in Israel, where their program staff will keep them away from alcohol and drugs. These mistaken narratives can prevent parents from addressing a critical issue and save their children from potential harm.
Open communication between you and your child is essential. Before your child leaves on an Israel gap year program, it is crucial to discuss how to drink safely and in moderation. The gap year is your child’s first chance to demonstrate independence and responsible decision making.
Help set your child up for success and safety by beginning the conversation. Contact Retorno for more information and tips to talk with your child about drugs and alcohol on Israel gap year programs.
Retorno can help
If your teenager has a substance abuse problem, or if you just want more information about alcohol and drugs in Israel, Retorno is a resource for help. Contact us today.Please share this post!