“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 month, I discussed how I spoke to my teens about drinking. It was not one of those conversations that I thought I would need to have for a very long time.
But, since my oldest is now 16, and youngest isn’t too far behind at 14, I can’t avoid these difficult conversations. Their lives, and those of others, are on the line, and I plan to do everything I can to make sure that they never put themselves in a dangerous situation.
The Family Talk About Drinking website was a great place to start, that is for sure. Did you know that 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!
My husband and I are in the stage 3 phase: coaching. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong! Sometimes it seems like an extremely daunting task. But, thanks to MJ Corcoran, M.Ed and the Family Talk About Drinking website, getting started has been a bit easier.
One of the most valuable tools I found in this section was Mary’s advice about asking open-ended questions. I found that it led to more open and honest dialogue between myself, my husband and our kids. Which, in turn, led to talking about more than just drinking while at prom or graduation.
We talked about how just hanging out at a friend’s house could lead to a possible uncomfortable situation involving underage drinking. And we emphasized that if they are ever in a situation that makes them uneasy, they can call us for a ride, no questions asked.
We also talked about how something simple like a glass of “punch” could actually be spiked with alcohol, and could lead to a dangerous situation. We said that if you are ever at a party and you start to “feel funny” that it could be a sign that a drink contained alcohol, and that they should not even think about driving.
It is better to be safe than dead or injured. Period.
Let’s face it, as parents, we have all been there. And probably have done the same stupid things. We were honest with our kids, and told them that we just want them to be safe, and keep others safe around them.
A few other things we emphasized:
- Don’t be afraid to say “NO”.
- When in doubt, don’t do it.
- If you see someone drinking, take their keys.
- If they can’t get their keys, then call an adult. It is better to get someone grounded than find out later that the person in question was injured, or worse, killed.
- Check in with us periodically. And not just with a text, but with a phone call, too. It helps promote accountability.
These conversations are difficult, but the safety of your kids, and others, is all that matters.