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.
It’s graduation time! Yay!
Time to celebrate another milestone — and our kids’ achievements! And, it’s time to revisit “The Talk.” You know…the talk about drinking.
Believe it or not, research shows that parents have the greatest influence on our teenagers’ decisions about drinking alcohol. Anheuser-Busch has been providing resources to families through the Family Talk About Drinking program for more than 20 years. It helps parents have an open dialogue about alcohol with their children.
When our kids are teenagers (through the age of 21), parents take on the role of The Coach. That’s because we help coach our kids through situations where alcohol might be present — like graduation parties. Luckily, we can get some guidance from certified educator and parent coach MJ Corcoran at the Family Talk About Drinking website.
Graduation season provides the ideal window of opportunity to talk to your teen about underage drinking. It’s important to set boundaries — specific, clear ones — and encourage good decision-making. If you can’t connect with your teen, a conversation isn’t likely to have the effect you’re hoping for. So how do you connect? Listen to your teen and respect their opinion, which will help them to open up to you about the tough topics — like drinking!
Part of an effective dialogue about alcohol is discussing possible scenarios that involve alcohol. Ask open-ended questions, such as, “What would you do if the adults are letting kids drink at a graduation party?”
A lot is at stake during graduation season, so accountability is vital. Teenagers should do more than text their parents to let them know they’re OK or that they’re safe. Have them call so you can gauge the situation and their surroundings — and their condition. It will make a huge difference, especially for your peace of mind!
Don’t forget to remind your teen that they can call for a ride (or for assistance in any situation) when they need one — no questions asked. That means no questions asked that night, not no questions asked, period. The next day, there will be questions and, possibly, consequences, depending on the situation. But their safety is the priority!
Don’t get me wrong — I get that it’s easier said than done when it comes to having “the talk.” But it can be done, if you put in the effort. I recently had that difficult conversation with my teen, to address the dangers of drinking during graduation season. There are parties and barbecues and all kinds of celebrations and, you know as well as I do, there will be alcohol around, either openly or secretly.
But I’m especially concerned with underage drinking during Senior Week. Lots of kids and no supervision? That can mean drinking and poor decision-making — but we shouldn’t automatically assume that it does mean those things.
So we had the talk because I was worried about her friends drinking and driving as well as her personal safety. I don’t want my teen to drink at all but I surely don’t want her to drink during Senior Week, when she could easily be in harm’s way as a result. She understood my concerns and assured me that she and her friends had plans in place for their safety. Thank goodness!
Don’t miss this opportunity to have the talk with your teen — and congratulations to all those graduating teens and their families!