Graduation is here and I personally can’t believe that I have watched my little girl grow from 0-18 with the speed of lightening. We have protected her as much as we can, by guiding her, having deep meaningful discussions and no subject is off limits. My husband and I believe that communication is key to really being ‘in charge’ of parenting and keeping doors open, even when things have gone wrong works far better for us, than keeping discussions squashed because they might feel uncomfortable. Now with Prom and Graduation here, it is so very important that we again visit the risks of underage drinking.
For families everywhere with children who are headed out to the prom and graduation, it is time to have that talk, the one where thing get real and life has a value put on it. Kids need to understand that they are not invincible, and that with underage drinking there are repercussions that can not be undone.
Lavishly live life out loud and learn how to discuss underage drinking with your children, because your discussion will be the difference between lives at risk and lives that are in control! Egnage in conversations about alcohol and the risks of underage drinking with your children so that they are prepared to make good choices.
How To Discuss Underage Drinking With Your Children
As I contemplated this discussion, I knew I was in good company not feeling all too comfortable because bringing it up in my mind also brings on the possibility that kids will suddenly consider something they might not have. Conversely, open communication makes communication lines clear and will offer true life discussion about car rides, alcohol, prom and celebrating everything they have up and coming in their bright futures.
Our decision to communicate has come up on more than one occassion, but on the cusp of prom, and upcoming graduation ceremonies that our kids will be attending, it is time to discuss this in a natural setting. We have decided that during a family meal we will have that talk with our tweens, and teens, and begin to communicate the risks of underage drinking as a family.
Just as with anything in life, we treat things with sugar, so that they don’t turn into vinegar and communication that is open is much more like sugar than vinegar. We want our kids to know that no matter what they are curious about, what questions they have, we are here first and foremost and then they can go find out any of the tidbits we might have missed from their friends.
Our parenting has resulted in children that learn through asking, and then discuss and engage in conversations during car rides and at every dinner session.
We never want our kids feeling like a door is closed on a subject, so that life is not closed on them. The concept of open communication is very important when discussing these very closed teen subjects because entry is only seems possible when the road is already paved.
We generate discussions through what we have done in our earlier lives, the mistakes we have made and we discuss much of what we learn from the Family Talk About Drinking program, which provides us with solid, information we can provide to our kids about the risks of underage drinking.
Before we started into the main conversation, we sugar-coated a lot of our dinner discussion with how well they all have been doing in school, and how proud we are off them. We have made certain to applaud all the great choices each of them has made up until now and we continue to encourage her to make millions more of the right choices.
What we are doing is affirming their ability to do the right thing, make the right decisions when it is necessary, and reassuring them that what they have done to date is awesome and we expect more awesome. The affirmation of choice and positive reinforcement provides us a ‘leg to stand on’ when reinforcing discussion of future ‘touchy’ subjects that must be covered.
How To Discuss Underage Drinking With Your Children
Quite honestly, my husband and I have three best friends, even though we parent, we also have made it possible for our kids to ask us anything because they are so very comfortable that we won’t jump down their throats about the questions they ask.
We don’t fire back with questions, which would simply imply accusations, we simply answer and address questions asked and add a little bit to the answer to make our point without ever providing unnecessary accusations.
For instance, my daughter asked me if it was normal to stumble when a person drinks. I did not respond, “why was such and such stumbling around the other night while you were at the bonfire, ” rather, we sat down and talked about how alcohol makes the body react and then how it is not something you engage in when you are underage.
We also furthered the discussion speaking about legal age drinking, however, we focused on the here and now(in our book, one day and one issue at a time, to not cross contaminate discussions or confuse issues). When my daughter asked us questions about what happens in other homes if kids drink, we answered simply, “In our home, there is no alcohol consumption until the legal age, that there is to be no drinking or consuming alcohol as you are not of legal age, and we want to be very clear. You know what the right thing to do is, and that is not to consume alcohol, and we expect that you WON’T consume Alcohol.”
Finally, we also threw the question out to her, “what will you do if there is drinking at a party?” Acknowledging that we understand how hard pressure is from others to try to push them into situations that they don’t want to enter into. Our discussions centered around her feelings, and then led her down a different path through discussion of misfortune that follows breaking the rules, death, destruction, loss of licenses, etc.
How To Discuss Underage Drinking
As my daughter has graduated, but has many friends that have not, and as our younger sons will be heading out to graduation parties of their older friends, we just wanted to take the time to cover what should be covered, asking open-ended questions and fielding any questions they have. As parents, we accept that they will be traveling to many graduation parties, and while we don’t know all the parents, and we don’t know the kids, we do know that our children have been openly speaking to us about drinking underage.
Our job as her coaches, is to provide a set of ears for listening, respect for their opinions and offer them correct statistics, and facts about underage drinking and the results. We lean on Family Talk About Drinking for advice and always take the window of opportunity to engage in this complex discussions, and as suggested from Family Talk About Drinking we provide tips on how to work through many different situations.
Our family has set boundaries for our children, explaining curfews, good decision making, how a Jr. License works, and why one drink could potentially change their life and any one else involved, so there is NEVER to be an exception. Suddenly, the issue that seems insurmountable is tackled, but communication has been key.
Congratulations to all of you out there that have children graduating and going to prom as it is such an exceptional, exciting time of year. I encourage everyone to sit down and chat with their children about the very real possibility of alcohol being present at prom parties and graduation parties and what her responsibilities are when offered the chance to drink underage.
Remember parents have the greatest influence on their children. We were able to do communicate without hesitation. How to talk to your kids about underage drinking is part of lavishly living your life out loud being a parent, and communicating effectively.