Talking to Teens About Underage Drinking Is Easier Than You Might Think #IC #ABFamilyTalk #Sponsored
***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.***
Here in the Cleveland suburbs, summer time is already in full swing. Well, sort of. The weather isn't fully cooperating just yet, but people are definitely showing their summer spirit! This week alone, there have been plenty of events to mark the beginning of the season. Our local water park is now open, and our weekly summer concert series on the riverfront also opened with a killer Bon Jovi cover band. It's also Prom and Graduation season, so our local youth are super excited about these important milestones!
I am SO blessed to be able to raise my children in a city that is so rich with family-friendly activities. We always enjoy the various festivals and events, and especially everything that involves live music. With these events, however, comes alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. (There are always beer and wine vendors available for responsible adults at these events.)
My teen, Kyle, often attends these events, and usually, he chooses to spend time with his friends rather than his parents. I can't really blame him. When I was 15, I certainly didn't want to hang out with my family all the time, either. We have a very open line of communication, and Kyle makes very good choices the majority of the time. Still, with all of the summer festivities beginning, we have been taking the time to talk to him again about the consequences of underage drinking.
Thankfully, my son is all too aware of the dangers of underage drinking and alcoholism. Alcoholism runs in my family, and my kids don't have much of a relationship with certain family members because the addiction has basically taken over, making them not so present in our lives. It's sad, but it's all too common, unfortunately. I'm sure many of you who have been affected by a loved one's addiction can relate.
My husband and I have decided that the cycle ends now, and our kids will never have to grow up with an addicted parent. We don't drink often at all, and when we do, we do so responsibly. Still, the choices of others affect our lives, and my kids miss out on relationships they should be having, if only the drugs and alcohol weren't top priority. It's hard having to explain to children why certain people don't make the effort to see them or even talk to them. As a mom and a daughter, this breaks my heart. But there is some good that comes from this painful reality....because my teen sees first-hand how drinking can hurt a family, he has absolutely zero interest in doing so, himself.
Even though I am 100% confident that my son has the willpower to say no to drinking, we still revisit this topic once in awhile. After all, as he gets older, he may find himself in different situations where peer pressure is present. Kids have the desire to fit in and be "cool", so peer pressure can be hard to walk away from. We like to talk about these possible scenarios, so he can come up with the best response beforehand.
Research from the GfK Roper Youth Report shows that parents have been the greatest influence on teens’ decisions about drinking alcohol ages for 20 years. This year’s report also shows a 24 percent increase in parents’ influence since 1991.*
For more than 20 years now, the folks at Anheuser-Busch have shared the Family Talk About Drinking program with parents to help provide them with tips on having an open dialog about alcohol with their children of all ages. Trust me, it's never too early to talk to your kids about this and other "sensitive" issues.
Parents have 3 roles when it comes to parenting, each specific to age and development of their child(ren): Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7), The Facilitator (for children ages 8-13) and The Coach (ages 14-21 and older).
No matter which stage you're in, kids need appropriate guidance from the person who loves them most: YOU! Even when teens tell you they don't need your input, they still do. It just takes some creativity to make sure that they will actually hear you. The #ABFamilyTalk About Drinking website can help you there.
When you visit the Family Talk About Drinking website, you will find plenty of great tips, including the following from certified educator and parent coach, MJ Corcoran:
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.
How do YOU go about tackling sensitive conversations with your teens? I'd love to hear your ideas!
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PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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