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Oceanflower's avatar

I need advice on how to help a young teenager with a coca-cola addiction. What can I do to help him give it up?

Asked by Oceanflower (192 points ) December 13th, 2009

My 14yr old boy was a great water drinker but for the past 2yrs since starting high school has developed the taste for coke. He cannot go a day without it now and a I am worried about the negative health impact it is having on him (although not visible yet). What would be the best way to curb this addiction…any suggestions welcome!

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19 Answers

elijah's avatar

Stop buying it for him. I’m sure he will still find ways to occassionally get one, but at 14 it’s not like he can drive himself to the store. If it’s not in the house he can’t drink it.

Parrappa's avatar

I didn’t know this was a real addiction…

Anyway, it’s not cocaine, just tell him to quit cold turkey and maybe reward him or something for not drinking it.

MissAusten's avatar

If he’s getting it at home, I’d say just what @elijah said: Stop buying it.

If he’s getting it at school from the soda machine, drinking it at a friends’ house, or walking down to the convenience store to score a 2 liter, there may not be much you can do. You have to decide if this is a battle worth fighting, or if you want to let him make his own decisions and deal with the consequences later on in life. Sit him down and explain why you think he shouldn’t be drinking so much soda. Talk about his teeth, the effects of caffeine, the massive amounts of sugar that could cause him to gain weight, or whatever else you think he should know. Ask him to come up with alternatives, or to limit his soda consumption to once or twice a week. Don’t just lecture him, but discuss it and ask his opinion. Make him a part of the process. If he really is addicted to the caffeine, quitting cold turkey might give him headaches for a while. Make sure you have some Advil or Tylenol handy.

After that, you have to trust him or else lock him up. He’s old enough to be responsible for his own actions. If his teeth rot or he gains weight and can’t fit into his clothes, have him help pay for it. :)

wildpotato's avatar

Tell him about the history of Coke – how it was originally meant as a candy-type treat, and was not thought of as an everyday drink. I think that once someone makes this category-switch it becomes much easier to give it up – that’s how I, and a number of people I know, did it. Here’s an interesting site on the topic, and here’s another.

Oceanflower's avatar

Hey Elijah…Im still new at Fluther, so I apoligise if Im doing something not right. Just wanted to let you know we do not buy any types of softdrinks (sodas) and dont have them in the house. My son has an allowance and he has a 10min walk to the shops if he chooses to go.

Brassman's avatar

Do the old coin trick with him. Soak an old, dirty coin in some cola and watch how it dissolves all the grime away – then ask him if it can do that to a piece of metal, what’s it doing to his insides?

elijah's avatar

@Oceanflower Welcome to Fluther!
Since you don’t buy the soda then it will be harder to regulate consumption. As his parent you know soda is not healthy, and are only looking out for his best interests. If you make a rule about not drinking so much soda and he chooses to break that rule, he shouldn’t get his allowance. I don’t know how you will be able to really know if he goes and buys it though.

deni's avatar

show him how it can remove rust because of the phosphoric acid in it. that should be enough….?

justmesuzanne's avatar

Show him how it can dissolve a nail soaked in it for a few days.

Darwin's avatar

Tell him it causes zits, makes teeth turn yellow, and makes you gain weight. This will work if he is interested in having a social life.

Siren's avatar

Adding to Darwin’s statement: Tell him if he keeps drinking that, his teeth will rot and he’ll get cavities; then he won’t look so hot for the ladies when he gets older. Appealing to a person’s vanity sometimes works in curbing bad habits.

You can also mention that coke has a lot of sugar in it, and he’s going to ruin his blood sugar and could end up a diabetic, which involves a lot of medical care, not to mention possibly having to check your blood every day (which is probably the number one pet peeve for diabetics).

mass_pike4's avatar

ease him off of it if possible by packing a water with a crystal light mixture or gatorade mixture. He is not going to stop it cold turkey so substituting it with a mixture with less sugar could get him to like these instead

randomness's avatar

Stop buying it for him

Let him know that coke may lead to him gaining weight, getting pimples, and becoming a diabetic. 14 year old boys think about sex a lot. Ask him what girl wants to have sex with an obese diabetic who has gross skin?

Also, you might want to point out to him that by drinking coke, he is contributing to various human rights abuses around the globe, and is supporting child labour.

UScitizen's avatar

You will only be successful if he wants to break the habit. You must start by getting him on board for the change.

HighShaman's avatar

Ok; If YOU are the adult ; why do YOU continue to buy it for him ?

Also; there is no such thing as an addiction to Coke .. PERIOD. He might like it a lot and ask that you purchase it ; BUT it is NOT an addiction .

Take a thin slice of meat such as ham… put it on a plate and pour coke over it… watch how it eats into the meat . What do you think it is doing to his stomach ?

Show him this… and let him do the Coke / Meat Test for himself…. in fact ; INSIST on it…. and hopefully he will be smart enough to at least cut back on the Cola consumption…

Siren's avatar

@Oceanflower: I don’t think people are reading your post that you are NOT buying the product for your son.

Unfortunately, I believe you can purchase those drinks at school as well? Regardless, the product is everywhere, so there’s only so much you can do. But at least you have kept it outside the house, which is great.

flameboi's avatar

there must be some kind of support group like AA, something like CK (not Calvin Klein) lol
As everything in life, it will pass :D

deni's avatar

yes, tell him his teeth will rot. and then he will need root canals. and go into detail about the root canal and hot they stick that little needle up into the root and SCRAPE AROUND. he’ll, hopefully, cringe and feel sick and then never drink it again.

now i’ll run off to vomit since i had to think of that horrible experience again lol

eternal0void's avatar

Psychological addiction to Coca-Cola is entirely possible, and sugar/caffeine addiction is also possible, so he may be experiencing either of those when not drinking it for long periods of time.

The “it dissolves a nail” argument only works on the stupid kids. The smart kids will say “I’m not made of metal.” The smart ones who have learned how to learn will look up facts on the Internet, such as how Coke is used as a cure for an upset stomach. Also, they’ll discover that Coke only dissolves nails thanks to its acid content, which will become a problem for you when you are trying to get him to drink Orange Juice, another drink known for its acid content.

Finally, the “teeth will rot” argument falls flat if you’ve convinced him to brush his teeth twice a day. If you haven’t convinced him to brush his teeth, he holds very little regard for your reasoning ability.

Teenagers don’t respond well to being told that something might kill them, or cause pain and frustration. We are talking about teenagers here, people who delight in performing the forbidden and the dangerous.

What you need to do is a gradual conversion. First get him to slowly switch to a non-caffeinated soda, such as a lemon-lime soda. This will wean him off the caffeine. Then switch him to a lemon-lime soda water, such as the lemon-lime twist made by Canada Dry. This will wean him off the additional sugar from the soda pop. You could try switching him to lemon water to get him off the carbonated water (which can cause problems with the swallowing muscle), but you may not be able to get him to give up the carbonation.

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