How to Talk to your Teens this April during Alcohol Responsibility Month. When I have a question about something, I usually turn to my online community. It’s filled with friends and family and extended friends and it’s a rich and easy way to gain insights, perspectives and information. Not to mention, it’s quick and easy. Got a question? You’ve got an answer in (sometimes) seconds! It’s so fascinating to me because (obviously) I didn’t grow up with the internet. There wasn’t Facebook when I was in high school. There weren’t blogs and videos for me to watch and learn new things. Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat weren’t invented. It was truly the meeting of the minds when I was younger. If you had a question, you researched in libraries, read books, asked someone or had to just find the answer someway, somehow. That’s how we did it in the “old days!”
The internet changed all of that for all of us and it truly is an extraordinary thing to have in our lives.
But what about for our teens? How to Talk to your Teens this April during Alcohol Responsibility Month
Our children have grown up in the world of the internet. If they have a question, they google it. If they have a photo they love of themselves, they can share it. If they want to talk to someone miles and miles away, they can FaceTime or SnapChat. Their world is much different from the world we grew up in. For me personally, the biggie is internet safety. It’s something that is always on my mind when it comes to my teens and my tweens, too. You never, ever know who is out there and that’s a frightening thing for any parent to be faced with when it comes to trying to protect their kids online. It’s important to make sure you’re constantly having open discussions with your kids about safety online, and giving them the tools and resources to arm themselves with if they have concerns or questions.
As you know, I’ve partnered with Responsibility.org and their incredible Ask, Listen, Learn program. What I appreciate and love about this partnership is that they do extraordinary things. Responsibility.org created the Ask, Listen, Learn program for tweens (around 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. As a mom of tweens, this program is very near and dear to my heart. This national, not-for-profit organization is leading the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking, also promoting responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol. I will do whatever I can to constantly and consistency spread awareness about this organization and this important message.
When it comes to arming kids with what they need to know and should know about making healthy and smart decisions in their lives, it all does start at home. It all begins with educating our youth, in particular, our tweens. With internet safety, it’s essential to make sure they know what they should and shouldn’t post online because this content lives forever. I’m always “on” my sons about seeing what they posted online. I like to make sure everything is appropriate, which is why I have log-in information to all of their accounts. I always say, “If you don’t like it, then don’t be online.”
When it comes to underage drinking and the internet, it’s a whole new playing field. It’s vital to make sure kids know the dangers of underage drinking, and if they see their friends talking about it or posting online about it, they need to tell an adult. Peer pressure is something that starts to kick in right around that tween and teen stage, and with the internet, it doesn’t make it any easier for kids who feel the pressure from others.
What can parents do with their kids? How to Talk to your Teens this April during Alcohol Responsibility Month
Make sure you are having open conversations about healthy decision making.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids.
Don’t be afraid to handle tough subjects with your kids. It’s important that you do!
Make sure you know which kids your kids are hanging out with out of school. With the internet being so accessible, you can easily find their friends online. Ask around, too!
Check your child’s internet footprint regularly. Stay on top of it as much as you can.
Don’t be shy about checking in with the teachers at school, too. They’re with our kids all day, so they do have insights on them, too.
Connect with the parents that your kids are friends with, too. This has been a big help for me personally. You can really get a handle on what they know, as well.
Encourage after-school sports and activities. Having a busy lifestyle can also help cut down on lots of unnecessary “free time.”
Check out – 10 Ways to Help Your Kids Say NO—a piece that Responsibility.org developed with Scholastic, particularly for April!
When it comes to our kids, we’re all on the same team. We want the best for them always. Talk openly with your kids about the dangers of underage drinking and why leading a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing. Believe me, it’s not always easy, but it’s one of those things in life that needs to be discussed with our kids. I’m just at the beginning of it, but I’m being as proactive as I possible can with my 5 kids.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored partnership with Ask, Listen, Learn. All opinions are 100% my own.