Caffeine… what a fascinating thing.
Many of us require multiple loads of caffeine just to make it throughout the day. Others, well they already know what Deborah Ann Davis, award-winning author, mom, parenting skills coach, and 20+ year high school educator, is about to tell you.
Davis emphasizes the importance of parents addressing their teens’ hefty caffeine intake and how they can combat it.
Many tweens and teens begin taking in caffeine on a daily basis as a way to stay on trend. That trendiness can quickly turn into an addiction. “Caffeine creates an unnatural energized happy feeling, similar to the one their bodies are supposed to create when it’s producing serotonin. Unfortunately, when they chemically create an artificial mood, their body quits doing that job. The lack of caffeine will make them feel emotionally low (cue the mood swing),” she says.
Here are some of her top 5 tips on how to tackle your teen’s caffeine addiction:
Tip #1: Know the different caffeine withdrawal symptoms
It is crucial to be able to identify caffeine withdrawal symptoms before jumping into getting off caffeine: headache, fatigue, irritability, lethargy, muscle pain, stiffness, cramping, insomnia, lack of concentration, brain fog, constipation, anxiety, nausea, heart rhythm irregularities, etc.
Tip #2: Gradually substitute caffeinated drinks for decaf
Start by suggesting they add in just ⅛ cup of decaf to their drinks. Increase the amount little at a time, until they are drinking all decaf.
Tip #3: Reduce added sugars
Begin to reduce the amount of sugar you add to your drinks. DON’T substitute another sweetener. The goal is to help you reduce their unnatural energy kick and sweet tooth.
Tip #4: Stay hydrated
Help them to remember to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, to help keep them alert and to flush the toxins out of their systems. Investing in a water bottle with a time tracker on it will help them stay on top of it.
Tip #5: Avoid processed foods
Caffeine is a ‘creepy addiction’. It slips its way into many of the foods, beverages and supplements they consume on daily basis (waffles, chewing gum, syrup, candy, etc.). You can be eating a caffeine-infused product and not even know it. Be sure to check the ingredients before purchasing. Modeling food label awareness will prompt her to read labels on products going forward. Hello, healthy habits!