Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Anheuser-Busch. Regardless, all experiences and opinions are 100% my own.
The end of the school year for teenagers in high school can be a busy, crazy time. From prom to graduation, there are events to commemorate the end of an era for the students. It can also signify an elevated party season. A time when alcohol could become more readily available to teenagers.
Family Talk About Drinking
Although this season is a great time to have the conversation with your teenager about the risks of being under the influence. In fact, opening the lines of communication years before is key, but having the talk now is just as important. Colby and I decided while pregnant with our first child that we would always openly talk about anything and everything.
The conversations have not always been easy, but it’s allowed us to have a terrific relationship with our children, even into adulthood. We are able to candidly sit and discuss important topics with our teens, such as preventing underage drinking, with ease knowing we’ve built that trust with each of them.
Fortunately, having those difficult talks doesn’t have to be challenging. In fact, Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking offers tips and suggestions to help you get the conversation started:
Power of Place
The teenage years are busy ones even before end-of-the-year events begin. School, extracurricular activities, friends… with so much on the agenda it can be different “good time.” Grab any opportunity. Anywhere you can. Use events such as prom and graduation to open the dialogue, but be ready at any moment. You may be surprised that some of best and most realistic opportunities for serious conversations with your teens are found in seemingly unconventional circumstances. Even a long car ride can create the opportune time to begin the conversation.
Set Clear Boundaries
Sit down with your children and establish a set of clear boundaries. Let them know exactly what you expect from them, and vice versa, and establish consequences for when those rules are broken. Encourage good decisions and make sure your teens know what occurs when they break that circle of trust. Today’s teens are most likely easier to engage via a text message or through social media. Connect with them in a way that is natural for them, which helps build the connection and ensures that they understand your expectations about underage drinking.
Think about how you feel when someone gives you their undivided attention and looks directly at you when speaking to you. When talking with your teens, show them the same respect and really listen to their view of the topic. Yes, what we have to say as parents is important, but it’s equally important that we listen to our teens. This will encourage them to be much more receptive when it comes to having these tough conversations. Ask open-ended questions and help them properly think through possible scenarios. Have a two-sided conversation that engages everyone and allows voices and opinions on both sides to be heard. Be approachable and encourage a two-way conversation where your teens are free to share their thoughts and concerns with you on any topic.
In today’s connected world, there are plenty of ways to stay in touch. When it comes to alcohol, a text will not always convey the real situation. Talk to your teen about picking up the phone and actually calling to check in with you. Hearing their voice, as well as possible background noises, will help you both better understand the actual circumstances and further ensure accountability.
Consider this an opportunity, as they transition into adulthood, to open the lines of communication. When it comes to talking to our children, at any age, it can be that easy. An open ear and compassionate heart can go a long way when trying to be both heard and understood.
Family Talk About Drinking is a program that helps parents talk to their kids about alcohol, underage drinking and responsible choices. If you need more resources or Communications Strategies for Prom + Graduation Season, be sure to check out the Family Talk About Drinking program. You can also join the conversation online by following @ABFamilyTalk on Twitter and Facebook.