My parents brought up the “alcohol” conversation with me and my siblings when we were tweens. It was a subject that my parents dealt with straight on with the 4 of us because they wanted to make sure we all knew the importance of this specific conversation. My parents were both high school teachers, so believe me, they had definitely seen it all and heard it all throughout the years. I always respected and really loved the fact that my parents were so open and honest with us back then, about everything.
Fast forward to present day.
Here I am with 5 kids, 2 of which are in the tween category – William will be 12 on September 25th, Alexander will be 11 on September 28th.
I’ve already started the conversation about alcohol and underage drinking with them. Just like my parents were open and honest with me, I’m doing the same with the two of them (and will do the same with my 3 other children, too). My philosophy with raising my children (along with my husband) has always been – I want to try and be an open book. I never want to shy away from subjects and I never want my kids to feel they can’t come to me. I need them to know I’m always here – for the good, for the bad and for the ugly. I’ve always been VERY open with them about everything, I started this with them from a very young age. I’ve never wanted them to feel that they couldn’t ask me something or couldn’t turn to me if something was bothering them. So far, we’ve been pretty good.
The subject of alcohol is a big conversation to be had with your children, but it’s SO incredibly important to make sure you have with them.
As you know, I’ve partnered with Responsibility.org and their incredible Ask Listen Learn program this year.
Their mission is very near and dear to my heart, especially since I have 5 kids under the age of 12. Responsibility.org is an incredible national, not-for-profit organization leading the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking, also promoting responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol. I’m very passionate about being involved because it all begins with educating our youth, in particular, our tweens. Responsibility.org created the Ask, Listen, Learn program for tweens (ages 10-13) as a way to start a conversation about why a healthy lifestyle is important, and why that healthy lifestyle doesn’t include drinking underage.
How do you start this conversation with your tweens?
How do you make sure you’re making an impact?
How do you know your kids are listening?
These kinds of questions are the kinds of questions that so many of my fellow tween moms are asking right now. The good thing is that we have Responsibility.org’s AskListenLearn program as an invaluable resource to turn to for help, questions, information, advice and tips. Responsibility.org believes the conversation about alcohol can start at any time, but you want to be prepared. With September being a huge time of transition with back to school, it IS an especially important time for parents to be mindful. Tweens are facing peer pressure, confidence issues and becoming young decision makers. Opening up the conversation can be difficult to do, so you really need to make sure you have resources on hand to help inform your kids on the negative impact(s) alcohol can have on a developing brain and body. With my own tweens it’s been important for me to make sure they understood that no true friend would ever pressure you to do something you don’t want to do. I don’t ever want them to feel pressure from other kids to make bad choices/decisions with alcohol. I want to make sure they surround themselves with kids that don’t drink and don’t party, especially at this young age!
I LOVED reading from Responsibility.org’s studies that parents wield the greatest influence on their kid’s decision to drink.
How amazing is this? We have this wonderful influence at this young age, so it’s so important to make sure we’re taking full advantage of this special time. It’s important to talk early and often, and with facts about why to help them understand the consequences. Since 1991, underage drinking has gone down by 59% among 12-13 year olds, while conversations about the dangers of underage drinking between parents and kids have increased 62%. That shows you right there that talking about it underage drinking, well… it helps dramatically.
Check out AskListenLearn.org for additional information on When & How to Discuss Alcohol with your Tweens. This is an amazing section to really get some wonderful information and advice. Also, check out the “game” section on AskListenLearn.org – it offers games for tweens, giving them a chance to explore the entire theme of the program, which is saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle.
Also – please know and remember that these conversations may not always be easy to discuss with your tweens, but these conversations are so important and crucial to have. Be proactive and be open and be honest. I’m taking a cue from my parents and following along with the tips from the AskListenLearn Program. My kids are my world and I want to protect them and arm them with the best advice I can possibly give them.
For more information head over to AskListenLearn.org.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with AskListenLearn.org. All opinions are 100% my own.