One of the things that scares me the most about being a parent is all the pressures my kids are going to face when they become teenagers. Seriously, peer pressure? Scary stuff. I was there once; I remember. Add a driver's license, a car, and some alcohol into that mix and it's a teen drinking scenario that no parent wants to imagine.
So often we talk about how we are going to have the "sex talk" but what about the "alcohol talk"? My mom had the alcohol talk with me many times when I was younger. Yes, it often was followed with "See how your relatives get when they drink too much? Don't be like that." And I understood exactly what she meant. And never wanted to be like that.
Not all my relatives, of course. Just the ones with the drinking problem. So of course since I grew up around people who were alcoholics, it's a topic -- a potential situation -- that is often on my mind. Not my kids, I think. This cannot happen to my kids.
Wanting something not to happen though doesn't always make it not happen. And with drinking and getting drunk a rite of passage for teenagers, it's hard to stop. But it's been proven that having that talk with your kid helps. The Century Council, a national not-for-profit dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, reports that 83 percent of kids says their parents are the biggest influencers on them to not drink alcohol. And that number is up 28 percent from when the stat was last released in 2003. How great is that!?
So even though our kids may roll their eyes when we want to talk about serious stuff, they are listening to us. The rest of the study revealed that 33 percent listen to friends/teachers, fear of punishment makes up for 28 percent, sibling influence comes in at 24 percent, and concern about breaking the law is 23 percent.
The big question is how do we talk about alcohol with them. Good conversation starters are when there is something in the news to jump off of and turn it into a learning. Or there could be something on TV or in a movie that brings up the topic of drinking. Of course if someone your child knows gets caught with alcohol, seize the moment to start the talk.
Have you had the alcohol talk with your kids yet? Any tips to share?
Image via Lenoid Mamchenkov/Flickr