***Disclosure:I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.***
Still, teenagers are very prone to succumbing to peer pressure, and this can lead to lifelong problems like alcoholism and addiction. That partying now can lead to dependency issues that can affect the rest of their lives.
I know the damage that alcoholism and addiction can do to a person and a family first hand. You see, I grew up in a household that had both. As a teen, this was very difficult for me to deal with. I felt like I had no support and love, since the addiction in my household was pretty severe and kind of took over. I was pretty much on my own in a lot of ways, and the lack of parental support and discipline caused me to make some truly terrible decisions. At that time, negative attention was much better than no attention at all. By the age of 15, my son's current age, I had run away from home 3 different times, just to escape the toxic environment I was stuck in. At 16, I married what would turn out to be an abusive tyrant. If the alcoholism and addiction weren't present, I think that the negative parts of my life may have been completely avoided.
I have never been shy about talking openly and honestly with my kids about drinking and drugs. I am very honest with them about the damage they can do by experimenting with drinking, and for now, my teen doesn't have any interest. I am SO relieved that he is NOTHING like I was at that age!
Still, I know how tempting peer pressure can be. This time of year, teens are under more pressure than ever, with proms and graduations coming up. It's a really ideal time to sit down with your teen and have an open, honest conversation about underage drinking.
This may be a tough conversation for some, but the folks at Anheuser-Busch are there with some fantastic tips to make this conversation go smoothly, for both parents and teens. In their Family Talk About Drinking Program, you can learn how to approach this and other delicate topics in a way that your teens will really HEAR and understand. Here's a brief into to this program, featuring MJ Corcoran, M.Ed, Certified Parent Coach:
There are 3 main stages of parenting, according to their experts:
- Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7)
- The Facilitator (for children ages 8-13)
- The Coach (ages 14-21 and older)
- Find Windows of Opportunity to Talk – When you have a teenager, windows of opportunity to talk can open and close fast. Use prom and graduation to continue the conversation around underage drinking. Set clear boundaries and encourage good decision-making this prom and graduation season.
- Connect with Your Teen – Two things you can do to connect with your teen: listen and respect their opinion. In turn, they’ll be much more likely to talk with you about the tough issues – like underage drinking.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions – During prom and graduation season, be sure to ask open-ended questions to help your teen think through potential scenarios involving alcohol.
- Encourage Accountability – In the busy time leading up to prom and graduation, a text is not enough. Encourage accountability and check in with a call.
Please consider taking time out to talk to your kids about underage drinking. As prom and summer approaches, this is a crucial discussion for parents to have. Be open. Be honest. Talk about how to handle different situations when a teen may be tempted to drink, and how they could handle it. I have found that the more open I am with MY teen, the more he comes to us for advice about sensitive topics, and he consistently makes good choices as a result. It may be uncomfortable, but I promise you, it will bring you closer together.
You can learn more on the Family Talk About Drinking website.
You can also join the discussion on the Family Talk About Drinking Facebook page.
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