Parenting

Discussing Underage Drinking

This post is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch.

The topic of underage drinking needs to be an ongoing conversation with in your family. As parents, our challenge is to send a consistent message to our children -- and it can start now.

While every family and child is different, and there are many ways to help prevent underage drinking, the main foundation is good, strong communication. Here are some tips to help you start the conversation with your kids:

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Be the influence: When they're young, it’s easy to see the influence you have on your children. They repeat the things you say, copy your mannerisms, and want to be just like you. But as they get older, and as outside influences such as peers appear to be stronger, research shows that parents are still the No. 1 influence in their kid’s decision on whether or not to drink alcohol.*

Listen with an open mind: True listening means listening without judgment or criticism and responding to ideas, fears, and opinions expressed by your kids. Focus on what they’re saying, and respond to their thoughts and feelings with an open mind, showing them respect, which helps build trust and lays the foundation for future communication.

Recognize opportunities: Children of all ages can benefit from on-going discussions about underage drinking. Many opportunities occur naturally, such as right after a school assembly about underage drinking or a story on the news involving teen drinking.  In these moments, your influence can make the difference.

Have you talked to your kids about underage drinking?

*GfK Roper Youth Report

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