“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.”
Today I’d like to discuss something that is very important….underage drinking. To some this might seem like something that doesn’t really need to be talked about a lot. I mean, yeah we all know that our children have heard of alcohol and many have participated in programs in school that teach about why alcohol should not be consumed at a young age and how it is bad for you, but are our children listening and do they really understand? Are parents doing their part to teach their children about underage drinking and what sort of lifelong effects it can have on your child?
As parents it’s up to us to set the boundaries and expectations for our children. We cannot rely on someone else to do this for us and that is why I felt it was important for us to have this discussion today.
As I’m scrolling down my Facebook wall I see smiling faces of teenagers dressed to a tee ready for their Junior and Senior Prom. It’s a special time in their life and they are usually quite excited. With that being said, this is one of the most important times to sit your child down and discuss the risks of underage drinking. We’ve all seen it in the papers and heard about it on the radio and television…you know, the accident that occurred on Prom night. The one that could have been prevented had the teen not taken that risk. It’s scary and no parent wants to think about it, but we must educate our children.
It is interesting to learn 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. In this year’s report there was a 24% increase in parents’ influence since 1991.
For more than 20 years, Anheuser-Busch has shared the Family Talk About Drinking Program with parents in hopes to help provide them with tips on having an open dialog about alcohol with their children of all ages.
Visit the FamilyTalkAboutDrinking.com website to learn more about the three main stages of parenting including Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7), being the Facilitator (for children ages 8-13) and the Coach (for ages 14-21 and older). Parenting is a lifelong commitment and we must remember that our children need us to teach them—even when they are adults.
I found these tips on the Family Talk About Drinking (FTAD) site given by certified educator and parent coach MJ Corcoran very helpful.
- Find Windows of Opportunity to Talk— When you have a teenager the windows of opportunity to talk can open and close fast. Prom and graduation are a great time to start a conversation about underage drinking. Be sure to set clear boundaries and encourage good decision making.
- Connect with Your Teen— There are two things you can do to connect with your teen: listen and be respectful of their opinion. In turn, they will be much more likely to talk with you about the tough issues, such as underage drinking.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions— During prom and graduation season, be sure to ask your teen 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 your child to be accountable by checking in with an actual phone call. It will put your mind at ease as well.
I have found this advice very helpful with my own teen. You know, I never really thought about that last tip—having them check in with a phone call. I think we all rely on text messages so much these days that it has just become normal and acceptable. I am stepping up and making it a point to have my children check in with a phone call, especially during times like prom and graduation parties. I need to hear my teen’s voice so I can truly know that they have the situation under control, everything is okay and they understand the rules and responsibilities we have set forth for them.
You can get more information and tips for helping your children learn about underage drinking by visiting the FTAD website here: http://www.familytalkaboutdrinking.com
We are giving away a $25 e-gift card for you to spend time with your teen discussing the important topic of underage drinking!
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“Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.”