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.
I’ll start here with a warning – this post is a lot longer than my average blog post. I’m pretty passionate about issues related to alcohol, especially when it comes to teens and those stupid enough to drink and drive (both teens and adults). I understand, as you will soon, that I tend to ramble a lot when I’m passionate about something. That said, what I’m about to write is
super Über important and well worth the read! If you have a teenager, please do so and then, leave me a comment to keep the conversation going!
As the mother of two teenagers I was really grateful to join in on a special round-table discussion on Family Talk About Drinking with FTAD Spokesperson, educator and certified parent coach, MJ Corcoran. Like me, the participants were concerned about preventing, and handling, the issues surrounding teen drinking. Of course, my motto is just don’t do it but that only takes me so far! It also just happens to be the end of the school year so the timing couldn’t have been better – the end of the school year can sometimes mean trouble for many teens in the midst of prom and graduation season! Parents, if you haven’t had the “drinking talk” with your teens, there’s no time like the present! If you have, now is still the perfect time to reiterate your stance!
One of my fellow participants mentioned that she talks with her teen about how dumb underage drinking is , and, although her teen agrees, she worries about how she might react to find out that her teen did in fact partake in underage drinking. MJ responded with some excellent advice, she said, “Show that you trust your teen by setting clear boundaries so she knows what the rules are, and follow through with consequences that are related. If you suspect your teen is drinking, its important not to attack her or make accusations. Address her in a neutral tone and setting – then, based on your house rules, decide on the proper consequences for her actions and ways of handling alcohol in the future.”
[Tweet “If you suspect your teen is drinking don’t attack her or make accusations #ABFamilyTalk”]
I know as a parent it’s up to me to set boundaries and expectations for my kids when it comes to underage drinking. I love the strategies and tips promoted in the Family Talk About Drinking campaign – its truly a great resource! It’s really important though, to understand how to approach your teens – even with those tips under your belt. That old adage, “there’s a time and a place for everything” really does apply! We can talk to our teens until we are blue in the face (and often do!) but unless you create the right atmosphere those deeper, more meaningul conversations about alcohol and the risks of underage drinking, especially during prom and graduation season, will be lost on them!
MJ Corcoran advises that this season is the best time to engage your kids in the conversation. She says,
When you have a teenager, windows of opportunity to talk can open and close fast. Use prom and graduation to continue the conversation around underage drinking. Set clear boundaries and encourage good decision-making this prom and graduation season.
I know better than anyone what we’re up against – especially that monster known as peer pressure! But, a ecent GfK Roper Youth study found that we’re more powerful than we might have thought – in fact, the research shows that parents have the greatest influence on teens’ decisions about drinking alcohol! That’s just one reason why its so important to connect with your teen and make sure that you listen to them and respect their opinion, even if you disagree while reinforcing what you believe to be the best way to handle a situation like teen drinking.
Also, Corcoran suggests that we, as parents, ask open ended questions to really get the conversation going and to get our teens to talk out potential scenarios involving alcohol. I think that’s great advise and I know from first-hand experience open-ended questions go a lot further than yes or no questions which tend to elicit the eye rolling “Yes, Mom!” responses as said teen starts walking away!
[Tweet “Encourage accountability and check in with a call. #Prom #ABFamilyTalk”]
Both of my teenagers in the third stage of parenting, ie, the Coach stage, ages 14-21. This is such a huge time of transition and the tips from Family Talk About Drinking are so helpful! I’m certainly taking MJ Corcoran’s advice to heart. She says,
Parenting independent thinkers requires creating a parenting style to match. Focus on listening and creating accountability. This method is the “Coach” approach — the most effective way to stay connected and extend your influence.
About the Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking Program
Anheuser-Busch collaborated with MJ Corcoran M.Ed to create Family Talk About Drinking, a program that helps parents talk to their kids about alcohol, underage drinking and responsible choices.
More than just a set of rules, Family Talk About Drinking is a supportive community that allows parents to learn new ideas, share stories, and ask questions about how best to tackle the problem of underage drinking.
$25 e-Gift Card Giveaway
Enter below to win a $25 e-gift card for you to spend time with your teen(s) discussing the topic. Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.