The “alcohol” conversation is something that every parent knows they should (and need) to address with their kids – it’s just not the easiest conversation to start. Or better put, it’s not something that parents necessarily look forward to discussing with their kids. With my 5 kids, I’ve decided to take the same approach my parents took with my siblings and I.
They started the conversation when we were tweens and it was a subject that my parents dealt with straight on. They really wanted to make sure we “got it” and understood the importance and the weight of the subject. With my parents both being high school teachers, they definitely seen it all and heard it all throughout the years. My parents saw firsthand some tragic stories that occurred at their school from underage drinking, and they didn’t want the same for their own kids. I truly always respected and really loved and appreciated the fact that my parents were so open and honest with us back then, about everything. I always felt like I could do to them for anything and with any kind of question. I want to be the same exact way with my sons and daughter, too.
But here’s the thing that many parents ask themselves when it comes to starting the “alcohol” conversation with their kids…
“How do I start the conversation? And most important – how do I make sure my kids get the importance of what I’m talking about?”
It’s not always easy, I know. It’s a BIG conversation and you want it to leave an impact. You don’t want it to be a fleeting conversation that they’ll forget about or just brush off.
I’ve already opened up the dialogue with my 2 oldest sons. They’re tweens – William is 12 and Alex is 11. Believe it or not, alcohol is already a topic that comes up with kids this age when they’re together. I wasn’t surprised to hear this news, but it made me sad. When I was 11 and 12 years old, all I cared about was babysitting and riding my bike to the center of our local town! I wasn’t thinking about drinking or even hearing about kids drink that young! I wanted to make sure with my own kids that I got to them young and got to them when (hopefully) it matters the most.
As you know, this year I partnered with Responsibility.org and their incredible Ask Listen Learn program. It has been for me, one of the best campaigns to work on and with because they’re all about making an impact. Their mission is very near and dear to my heart, especially with 5 kids all under the age of 12. Responsibility.org is a national, not-for-profit organization leading the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking, also promoting responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol. 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.
I’m excited to share that Responsibility.org Ask, Listen, Learn has launched a new digital programming to help kids learn what the brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what THAT does to them. Kids are ALL about the digital world, so I love that this is a wonderful way to further reach and expand the message. I love this because it’s a wonderful resource to help show our kids the true impact that alcohol has on their minds and bodies. This new, cutting-edge, digital program geared for 5-7th graders is for teachers, parents, school counselors, nurses, and more is sure to leave a lasting impact. The educational tools consist of corresponding lesson plans, classroom activities, vocabulary cards, and more for teaching in the classroom – all aligned to multiple standards. There is also a letter for teachers to send home to parents, explaining what their kids will be learning, and a letter for school counselors to help teachers answer any questions that arise from the lesson.
There are parent tools, including expert tips from Responsibility.org Ask, Listen, Learn’s National Advisory Board member Dr. Deborah Gilboa, MD and a specific page to explore with their kids to start the conversation.
Please remember that these conversations are so important and crucial to have. Please be proactive and be open and be honest with your kids. Take advantage of incredible resources that are out there and available for you and your kids.
For more information head over to AskListenLearn.org.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with AskListenLearn.org. All opinions are 100% my own.