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. #ABFamilyTalk
Last weekend I watched my first baby walk across the stage and get his high school diploma. As he was dressing up that day, fixing his tie, putting on his gown… I stared at him as I was having flashbacks to when he was born. I was remembering, as if it was yesterday, how he used to sleep on me all day long as a newborn infant. I was remembering his first birthday and his preschool graduation and how proud I was. Now I’m watching him graduate high school and prepare for his move from Chicago down to Florida to stay with his grandparents and look into college and a job.
I have to admit, it is really hard. It’s hard watching my ‘baby’ grow up, start his adult life and move away from me. One of my biggest fears is that he picks up the habit of drinking. Did you know, research shows that parents have been the greatest influence on teens’ decisions about drinking alcohol? You’d think, in that case, that I wouldn’t be so worried about Austin. But my first marriage ended due to alcohol. On my side of the family – nobody drinks. At all. Ever. On Austin’s dad’s side of the family – everyone drinks. A lot. Like I said, that is why my marriage ended. At this point, Austin is not interested in drinking which is great. I just hope that alcohol never seems to interest him – at least until he is over the legal age to drink alcohol. In these past years, me and Mike have talked to the kids a lot about drinking alcohol and especially under age drinking. It’s always been an open conversation around our house. The kids seem comfortable discussing this with us.
The Family Talk About Drinking Program
The Family Talk About Drinking Program from Anheuser-Busch has helped parents for more than 20 years by providing them with tips on keeping an open dialog about alcohol with kids. FamilyTalkAboutDrinking.com says there are three main stages of parenting: Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7), The Facilitator (for children ages 8-13) and The Coach (ages 14-21 and older). Of course, when discussing underage drinking, we would be ‘coaching’ them and encouraging them to wait until they are over the legal drinking age and also to be making wise and safe decisions. Here are some tips from FTAD:
- Find Windows of Opportunity to Talk. As parents, we have many opportunities to discuss underage drinking with our teens. From prom and homecoming, to graduation and college. Even regular Friday night parties. Not only teen situations either. If you’re at a family gathering and Uncle Joe gets drunk – use it as a chance to open the door to the conversation. Why not!?
- Connect with Your Teen. When talking about drinking with your teen, be sure to do more listening rather than talking. They hate being lectured, so don’t. And respect their opinions. They won’t always agree with you and that’s okay. They will feel more comfortable talking with you if you’re judging less and respecting them if they don’t agree with you.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions. Give them scenarios involving alcohol and let them answer. Let them think it through and figure it out. This is a great way to get them thinking about consequences.
Encourage Accountability. Growing up, my dad always told me to call. Simple as that. Let him know where I was and who I was with. And if I ever got in a situation where I needed a ride or my friends needed a ride – I could call him. He frowned upon underage drinking and I knew that. But if it happened, I knew I could call him. I want my kids to know this too. If they’ve made a poor choice and did drink alcohol, I would not want them to make another poor choice and decide to drive.
I was able to attend a roundtable discussion and I really enjoyed all of the questions asked. As a mom of six, I have a wide age range of kids in the home. Our oldest is almost 22, the next are 17, 16 and 14… and then we have our 6 year old and 2 year old. We’ve been though this ‘underage drinking’ issue with the 22 year old a few years ago and now are dealing with the teens. Listening to questions asked during the roundtable discussion were the questions we had a few years ago. A great questions asked was, “How can a parent’s anti-drinking message compete with the pressure from their peers to drink? (sort of a cool vs. anti-cool thing)”. I thought this was a fantastic question because that is the biggest issue with the teens. Some teens do think it’s cool. How in the world do we, as parents, compete with that?!? And it really comes down to the parents being the greatest influence in our kids’ lives. We need to start early and instill in them our beliefs and expectations. Teach them early on about peer pressure and how to combat that when needed. Luckily, my kids are pretty strong-headed and have no problem saying ‘no’.
Connect with Family Talk About Drinking
- Visit the Family Talk About Drinking website to learn how you can talk to your teen about underage drinking.
- You can find Family Talk About Drinking on Facebook too.
Family Talk About Drinking $25 Giveaway
My readers have the chance to win a $25 e-Gift Card giveaway so they can take their teen out and discuss underage drinking. Go grab a quick lunch or hang out at the coffee shop and have the talk. There’s no better time!