The question of whether or not you—as a parent—should allow your teenager to consume coffee is one that seems to be popping up more and more these days.
We’ve been told that coffee could stunt a teenager’s growth or cause them to bounce off the walls with energy and crash pretty soon after, but what are the benefits of allowing your teenager to enjoy a cup of coffee every day?
Increased Energy and Alertness
To me, the smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the greatest inventions.
The main benefit of drinking coffee is obviously the energy that comes along with it: It wakes us up in the morning and keeps us awake and alert during our morning meetings.
Isn’t it possible that your teenager might need a little boost in the morning, too?
In fact, a cup of coffee might be just what your teenager needs to get them up in the morning and allow them to stay awake and alert during their early morning classes at school. If they’re half asleep during their morning math class and the lesson goes completely over their head because they’re tired, there’s not really much point in attending those morning classes.
Although a cup of coffee will likely give your teenager the jolt of energy they need in the morning, it should stay at just that: A cup. More than a cup and you might actually see them bouncing off the walls.
Engages Your Teenager in “Coffee Culture”
Coffee culture is huge these days, especially among the younger generations.
And just what is coffee culture, you might be wondering?
Coffee culture is exactly what it sounds like: People gathering together, typically at coffee shops, to socialize, discuss common interests, and—yes—drink coffee.
While this might not sound like the most fun social gathering for a parent such as yourself, engaging in coffee culture will at least allow your teenager to make new connections and friends, share their interests—or form new interests—with other individuals their own age, and, perhaps, just get them out of the house once in a while.
Just think about it: A teenager could be out and about doing far worse things than sipping on a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop and mingling with other coffee-drinkers. So why not encourage them to go out and enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend?
A Potential Substitute for Unhealthy Caffeinated Drinks
Coffee has always been a significant part of my life. For me, it’s a chance to start my day and gather my thoughts – it’s fuel for my creative process.
Let’s be real. Just as there are far worse places that your teenager could be spending their time than a local coffee shop, there are also far worse substances they could be consuming as a means of gaining energy.
For example, they could be drinking can after can of soda filled with refined sugar or—even worse—they could be consuming multiple energy drinks in a day, which often contain not only refined sugar but also excessive amounts of caffeine and other questionable ingredients.
Coffee is—at least in comparison to soda and energy drinks—a natural stimulant and energy booster, so you can rest assured that your teenager is not putting their health at any major risk by drinking a cup of coffee.
Coffee is even more natural and beneficial when sugars, creams, and syrups are left out of the picture. So, when your teenager is heading down to the coffee shop to meet up with one of their friends, it may be wise to suggest that they order their cup of coffee black!
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Drawbacks?
We obviously can’t simply ignore the potential drawbacks of your teenager consuming coffee, either, because there are a few worth mentioning and that should be taken into consideration before giving your teenager the go-ahead to have that cup of coffee.
It’s worth noting that coffee is an addictive substance, so if you know your teenager well and you are aware that they have an addictive personality, it might be best for them to avoid coffee altogether or encourage them to start out with half regular coffee and half decaf.
Coffee also might not have the same effect on your teenager if they have an anxiety disorder. As a matter of fact, a cup of coffee may just make their anxiety even worse and work them up rather than giving them the desired burst of energy. If you have an anxious teenager but they still want to try out coffee—again—you could easily start them out with half regular coffee and half decaf. Another option would be to allow them to have a cup of coffee but encourage them to sip it over a longer period of time like two or three hours.
It’s up to you—as a parent—to decide whether or not a cup of coffee in the morning would ultimately help your teenager or put them at a disadvantage.
Click to read more about 5 Parenting Tips For New Moms And Dads
1 Reference and citation:
- Is it OK for teens to drink coffee?
- Caffeine consumption trends among children and teenagers
- Consumers’ Perceptions of Coffee Health Benefits and Motives for Coffee Consumption and Purchasing