My son is graduating and this is how we're talking about underage drinking
This is a very busy and exciting season in my family's life. In the next few weeks, my oldest son will be finishing his last days of high school and celebrating everything that comes along with that, including prom and graduation. It is also a crucial time for discussing underage drinking.
As a parent of a graduating senior, I have a lot to do. Prom preparations include renting a tux, arranging for transportation and buying corsages. However, pinning on the corsage is not the most important task that I will have on prom night. My husband and I will need to go over with our son what our expectations and rules are about underage drinking. No doubt about it, it can be complicated to have these conversations with your kids. Therefore, I think it is very helpful that a website like Family Talk About Drinking is out there to help provide us with ideas of how to talk to our kids.
Family Talk About Drinking is an underage drinking prevention program for parents created by Anheuser-Busch in collaboration with certified parenting coach MJ Corcoran. MJ Corcoran is an educator and certified parent coach with more than 25 years of experience. First launched more than 20 years ago, Family Talk was enhanced and expanded in 2011 to be a comprehensive resource that parents can turn to throughout the parenting process, no matter how old our kids may be.
As parents, we are the biggest influence on kids' decisions in regards to underage drinking prevention. In our family, the conversations about underage drinking began way before this year. We have three kids, ages 10, 14 and 17, and we speak to them often about this topic. We have always thought that it is better to keep an open dialogue rather than only bringing it up when a problem arises. Also, as a police officer in our community, my husband is often involved in situations that involve underage drinking. When he comes home and discusses specific scenarios with our boys, it helps to get the conversation going about their experiences, what our expectations are and how they can react under peer pressure. Above all, we want to make sure our kids know that they can talk to us about anything and that we are always here to listen.
In our house, we have a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking. We want it to be clear to our kids that underage drinking is never OK under any circumstance. We talk about hypothetical situations when peer pressure will inevitably come into play. We have taught our boys to have a response at the ready so they aren't caught off guard when they are offered alcohol. Our boys have the line, "My parents are very strict and my dad would definitely find out!" in their back pocket for those circumstances.
My husband and I take our job as role models in regards to our own drinking very seriously as well. Most importantly, we model responsible behavior like never drinking and driving, as well as drinking in moderation so that our kids will make good choices when they are of age to drink.
No doubt about it: This parenting gig is hard! Having an easily accessible resource like Family Talk is an invaluable tool. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Together, let's open the lines of communication with our kids. It will make us all better at the most important job in our lives — being a parent.
This post is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch.