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Having a teen is scary, especially when they turn 16! It isn’t enough nowadays to have just one talk with them about drinking and driving. It needs to be a continual process and at an earlier age too. Research from the GfK Roper Youth Report shows that parents have been the greatest influence on teens decisions about drinking alcohol ages for 20 years.
My son, who currently has his temps, attended the Spring Dance for his school recently. Now, while I would like to believe that the school had the venue buckled down, I am sure there were those few bad seeds that smuggled some form of alcohol in or even chugged back a few before attending the event. Not my son though, right! No really, not my son!
For more than 20 years, Anheuser-Busch has shared the Family Talk About Drinking Program with parents to help provide them with tips on having an open dialog about alcohol with their children of all ages.
According to FamilyTalkAboutDrinking.com, there are three main stages of parenting including Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7), The Facilitator (for children ages 8-13) and The Coach (ages 14-21 and older).
I have kids that fall into all three of those categories. How we approach and talk to them about drinking is different for each. For my 15-year-old, we have been having a discussion for years. As you know teen boys are not very talkative, so our conversations are short but often. Have you had the discussion with your kids lately?
10 Tips on Talking to Your Teen About Underage Drinking:
- Find the right time to talk face to face, without phones or distractions
- Ask open-ended questions like how do you feel about…, what do you think of…
- Listen to what they have to say without judging
- Respect what they have to say, after all, they are starting to become their “own person”
- Share Stories: Kids usually think, “My parents were never teens, they don’t get it”. Share a story or two so they CAN relate
- Stay Calm even if they confided in you about themselves or friends
- Don’t lecture: nobody likes to be lectured to, they will just shut down
- Encourage accountability by making them call or check in at certain points of the night. If they want the responsibility of participating in the event, then they need to have accountability
- Draw a Line by making sure they know what the consequences are for breaking rules and that they will be enforced
- Have “The Walkaway Talk”! Make sure to talk about ideas on how to handle peer pressure or how to just walk away from the situation