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
It’s so hard to believe that my little girl is 15 years old and about to be a Sophmore in high school. It seems like just yesterday, she was playing with Polly Pockets and still so sweet and innocent. Now she’s wearing makeup, dating boys and just being a typical teenager. Don’t get me wrong, she is still pretty sweet and innocent, but I know that the pressure is out there for her. In fact, some of the negative influences she was exposed to last year were starting to wear on her and decided it was time to make some major changes.
Last year, I made the choice to enroll her in a school that puts a lot of focus on being a great hearted individual and I have noticed a huge change in her personality this year, for the better. She is happier, more focused on school and shooting high for her future. Getting her away from the bad influences has done a number to help her improve. Even though she was not and did not want to give into the influences, the pressure was making her a bit miserable.
That showed me that no matter how much a teenager doesn’t want to do drugs, or have sex or even drink, the pressure can be very overwhelming. And I am not naive enough to believe that the pressure is gone at this new school so giving Lexi the tools to be able to handle the pressure is important. She can then turn around and help other friends that are dealing with or have given into the pressures.
Communication is Key
When it comes time to have the important conversation about drinking, you should set up a time alone with your teen. No phones, TV, siblings..absolutely no distractions. Sit down with them, let them know that you want to talk to them about something important. Be honest with them, even if you have to admit that you drank as a teen. Being honest with them shows them that you respect them. Talk to them like they are adults, they will respect you more and will be more open to listening to you. Let them know that you will keep an open mind and not judge them or or jump to conclusions. Ask them open ended questions. Instead of asking them “Will there will be alcohol at the party?”, ask them “If there’s drinking at the party, what will you do?” This helps them understand that they have the power to make the right decisions and shows that you trust them.
[Tweet “Listen with an open mind and an open heart. -MJ Corcoran”]
Be a good role model
Along with being honest with your teen about your own experience with drinking, it is important to be a good role model for them as well. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t drink, simply means to drink responsibly. Drink in moderation, at appropriate times with good behavior.
[Tweet “Dont just speak your words-Live them. -MJ Corcoran”]
Make sure that your teen knows what boundaries you have set for them and encourage them to set their own boundaries. On that same note, let them know that if they step over those boundaries, there are consequences. Stand your ground and make sure that you enforce the consequences and be consistent with them. If you tell them that a consequence is that they lose their phone, do it, take the phone away. Don’t give in even if it feels easier.
Education is not only important for them, but us as parents as well. A great resource for education parents about underage drinking is the Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking program. This program has been providing parents with the tools needed to talk to their teens for over 20 years and also features tips from certified educator and parent coach, MJ Corcoran.
MJ teaches us that there are 3 stages of parenting:
Stage 1:Being a Teacher-ages 1-7
Stage 2:The Facilitator-ages 8-13
Stage 3:The Coach-ages 14-21
Up till the age of 7, kids learn mostly from direct experience, this is our first chance to teach them by example about the dangers of underage drinking. Then from 8-13, they start to question the rules, test their boundaries and are susceptible to outside influences. It is up to us to explain the whys behind the rules we put in place. Instead of “alcohol is for adults only” we explain to them that their bodies are still developing and alcohol can cause much more damage to them than adults. We as parents of teens, are now coaches. It is our jobs to give our teens some independence while still being involved and helping them to grow into responsible and successful adults.
According to the GfK Roper Youth Report, for the past 20 years parents have been the biggest influence on whether teens decide to drink or not. The report also shows a 24% increase since 1991. So keep the dialogue open with your teen and help guide them to make the right decisions, especially right now with Prom and Graduation season in full swing.
The Family Talk About Drinking Program wants to give one lucky reader a $25 e-gift card to spend with their teen while having this ever so important topic. Take your teen out for coffee or ice cream, enjoy the time together. Open to US residents, 18+ only and ends on May 27 at 11:59pm MST. Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.