I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Anheusur-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #MC
If you know me, you know I’m a concerned mom (friends have jokingly called me Safety Susan). I figure that there are so many things out there that I can’t control, that I make every effort to do those things I can to keep my children safe. When they were little it was making sure they were in the correct sleeping position and always rode in a car seat. When they were older, it was making sure their toys were safe and that they wore a bike helmet. Now that I have 2 teens and a tween, my safety focus includes issues of under-age drinking. As a mom of 3 and a parent educator, I’m proud to share with you that I’ve been selected as an Ambassador for the Anheusur-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program.
How in the world did she grow up so quickly?! How in the world did we go from teaching my baby to walk and talk to teaching her to make smart decisions about underage drinking? Fortunately, Anheusur-Busch is committed to helping prepare and support parents in their Family Talk About Drinking program and you can also find them on Facebook.
Family Talk About Drinking
In the next few weeks, I plan on having several talks with my daughter. Prom is coming up quickly and 2 sets of parents have hired limos to take my daughter’s group of friends to prom. At first I thought this was a great idea (and very generous), but now I wonder if those parents know about something that will be happening that I don’t know about. I do trust my daughter, but I’m also not naive. I have started wondering if the other parents know that some of the kids will be drinking. I want to help arm my daughter with the skills to make smart decisions if she finds herself in a difficult situation.
Oh, and then right after prom, is graduation and graduation parties. So, I need to prepare my daughter to make smart decisions all summer long and all life long.
Talking about drinking with our child starts with us.
As a parent educator, I know that knowledge and preparation are a parent’s strength. Before you sit down to talk with your child about drinking, you need to first sit down with yourself and truthfully answer some tough questions.
What do you really think about alcohol and underage drinking?
What rules will your family have about underage drinking?
What is your goal in talking with your child about alcohol?
Are you trying to shelter your child from the world or are you trying to give them the skills they need to make smart decisions?
Stages of Parenting
When we look at that sweet little face for the first time, we see our baby and we see our parenting responsibility in our arms. Our parenting responsibility is fundamentally to raise a productive citizen. We know there’s so much more to it than that, but the bottom line is we are parenting towards the goal of our baby becoming a productive adult. To accomplish that goal, there are 3 stages of parenting.
Teacher – for children 1 – 7 years old – focus on becoming the main source of information about alcohol and acceptable behavior
Facilitator – for children 8 – 12 years old – focus on helping your child make sense of a complicated world and share family values so your child can incorporate them into decisions about alcohol
Coach – for children 14 – 21 years old – create the right atmosphere for meaningful conversations about alcohol and smart decision-making
Following the tips in the Family Talk About Drinking Parent Guide, I plan on talking to with (not to) my daughter, by making sure I keep an open mind and really listen to her (even when I’m not thrilled with what I’m hearing). If she knows that I’m listening, really listening to her, she’ll be more likely to be honest with me. If she’s honest with me, then we can problem solve together. Fortunately, we’re in the middle of a thousand and one summer job and college decision discussions, so we’ve already set the tone for listening to her and guiding her through the decision process while letting her make her own decision (it’s like running behind the bike with your hand out to catch her if she starts to topple, but really she’s riding all by herself). I want to make sure that I reinforce specific good choices she’s made before and that I trust her.
In talking with my daughter, I want to encourage her to think through possible scenarios involving alcohol and how she will handle them. The easiest way to do this is to ask open-ended questions. If there’s drinking at prom, what will you do?” or “What would you do if one of your friends had alcohol in the limo on the way to prom?”
After listening (really listening to her) and helping her problem solve through some possible scenarios, I plan to finish our conversation with clearly telling her that we expect that she will not drink alcohol and remind her that she can call me anytime. any. time. to come pick her up, no questions asked. We worked out a code a long time ago where she can call me on her cell and hang up when I answer. I’ll immediately call her back and tell her we have a family emergency and that I have to pick her up right away. That way she knows she can call me and have the perfect excuse to escape a difficult situation.
Do you have any advice for me as we enter senior prom season and graduation parties? How have you handled taking with your “baby” about underage drinking? I’ll be sharing more tips about how I plan to talk with my daughter about underage drinking in the next month. We can help each other and our children through this prom and graduation season.
Be sure to download the Parent Guide to help you plan for your own family talk.
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