This has been a big summer for our family. My oldest “baby” attended her senior prom, graduated from high school, got her first non-babysitting job and is about to go off to college. Many of these big events can offer the temptation of underage drinking. As I shared with you before, we’ve been talking about underage drinking and how to make good decisions with our children since they were young. But when your “baby” is leaving for college, the military or moving into their own place it’s a good time to have a family talk about drinking and what life after graduation holds. (that is juice in the glass!)
Since 1982, Anheuser-Busch has committed more than $1 billion in programs to prevent underage drinking and drunk driving. My parenting
goal has always been to raise my children to be responsible, contributing citizens and keep my children safe. The Family Talk About Drinking (FTAD) program provides great resources for parents
to be able to do just that.
It’s tough being a parent and teaching our children to make good choices. Ultimately our goal is to raise responsible adults that make good choices. This summer and the time after high school graduation is particularly tough as our “babies” become adults and begin to move
into the next stage of their lives out on their own, whether they are going to college
, into the military or moving
into a place of their own.
I’m so proud of my daughter, the woman she’s becoming, the achievements she’s worked so hard for and the future she’s chosen. She’s ready to be out on her own. I’m taking the time this summer to share how proud we are of her and her choices. She needs to know that we recognize the good choices she makes, large and small, and reinforce them to her. Even though she’s leaving for college, she still has responsibilities to herself and to the family, responsibilities to follow expectations, rules and laws and responsibilities to live up to our family values. This time just before my “baby” (even though she’s legally an adult, she’ll always be my baby) is the perfect time to talk to her as an adult about underage drinking.
Family Talk About Drinking – Life After Graduation
We’re also taking the time to make sure our daughter understands our expectations about underage drinking and the consequences she could face if she chooses to drink underage. There are legal consequences, consequences with university rules and family consequences. We’ve worked hard to strike a balance between letting her know that she can talk to us about anything (really), but that behaviors always have consequences and she needs to be aware of them.
To help prepare her, we’re taking the time to talk through ways she can handle different situations she might encounter that would involve underage drinking. We’re building on previous conversations
we had before prom and graduation. Asking her how she could handle different scenarios and brainstorm solutions is a great tool for preparing her for good decision-making in college. By asking open-ended questions and helping her brainstorm solutions rather than tell her what to do, we’re acknowledging that she’s growing up and has the skills to handle these situations. My daughter has made very good choices about not drinking underage and I expect that she’ll continue to make those good decisions (she has no problem standing up and saying, “No, I am not going to do that.”)
, but I want to help prepare her for new situations and think through how she on her own can best handle those new situations.
I had the opportunity to interview the FTAD parenting coach MJ Corcoran
about the challenges parents
face in preparing their children for college or life on their own as it relates to underage drinking. She shared the top 3 things we can do to get through to our post high school graduation aged children about underage drinking.
1. The choices that they make are their choices and the consequences will be their consequences.
This is why it’s so important to talk with them now and make sure they understand their choices, options and the potential consequences.
2. We as parents need to clearly state what support we’ll give our children and what our boundaries are.
It’s important that you take the time to figure out exactly what your boundaries are because it’s a personal decision and will be different for each parent.
3. Let your child know that you will always be there for them, to support them and answer any questions they may have.
A great way to do this is to schedule a time to talk each week, not text or email, but talk. That consistent check-in time will facilitate talking and being available for any questions.
I still have a month to have several more family talks about drinking with my daughter before she leaves for college and I’m making this a priority. I’m taking her out on lunch dates, spending time sitting on her bed talking and talking when we go out shopping for all the stuff she needs for college.
I’m a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I’ve moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what’s really important to them.