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. #ABFamilyTalk
Alcoholism runs in my family. Both of my mother’s parents were alcoholics, and my mom recognizes that she could easily be one, too. Thankfully, she had an open dialogue with my brother and I about it. Nate also grew up in a home with parents who were very open about things like this as well. Now with our own kids, we talk with them often about our expectations, about thinking for themselves, and making good decisions when it comes to things like underage drinking.
When it comes to underage drinking, it’s up to parents to set boundaries and expectations. Sometimes this can be hard to do because you just don’t know where to start. The Family Talk About Drinking program (FTAD) is a great resource from Anheuser-Busch in collaboration with MJ Corcoran M.Ed that helps parents talk to their kids about alcohol, underage drinking, and responsible choices.
Having teenagers, it’s important to know how to talk to your kids about underage drinking. We are a very close knit family and my kids talk to me about anything, but I still want to make sure they know my expectations for underage drinking. We’ve had many conversations about underage drinking and what to do if Em is somewhere where underage drinking was happening.
According to FTAD, there are three stages of parenting.
As parents we are more like coaches for teens and young adults. Did you know parents are the greatest influence on teens’ decisions about drinking alcohol ages for 20 years? This is according to the GfK Roper Youth Report. This year’s report also shows a 24 percent increase in parents’ influence since 1991. They do and will listen to you!
Here are some ways we can talk to our teens about underage drinking:
Find Windows of Opportunity to Talk
When you have a teenager, windows of opportunity to talk can open and close fast. My teen and I often have important conversations any time and anywhere. Use prom and graduation to continue the conversation around underage drinking. Set clear expectations and boundaries and encourage good decision-making this prom and graduation season.
Connect with Your Teen
The two biggest things you can do for your teenager is listen and respect their opinion. They’ll be much more likely to talk with you about tough issues like underage drinking.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Be sure to ask open-ended questions to help your teen think through potential scenarios involving alcohol, especially now during prom and graduation season. This is something I think is so important. This really helps my kids learn to think things through adn to make their own good decisions.
- What’s the plan for the evening?
- What will you do if alcohol is around?
- Who’s driving? If they decide to drink, who would you call?
On the big night, keep communication open:
Maintain consistency with expectations.
Even though prom is a once-in-a-lifetime event, it should not mean changing your boundaries. Make sure your teen understands the dangers of underage drinking before heading to the after party.
Communicate with your teen throughout the evening.
Have check-in times with your teen during prom or graduation night. Talk or text with your teen that evening to reiterate your expectations and find out how things are going. Also, remember that sometimes a text is not enough and call your teen to check in.
Follow up with your teen after prom.
Ask if they had fun? Do they have pictures or fun stories to share? While talking make sure to reinforce your expectations. This shows consistency.
For more than 20 years, the Family Talk About Drinking program has helped parents by providing tips for talking to kids of all ages about alcohol. This program is a great supportive community that allows parents to learn new ideas, share stories, and ask questions about how best to tackle the problem of underage drinking. Even though we talk to our teen about drinking, I’ve found some new things from the website to bring up.
One lucky winner will win a $25 e-gift card — perfect to take your teen to dinner so you can have this important talk! Good luck!!