Family Talk About Drinking – Coaching Your Young Adult When They Leave for College

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #MC

If you remember, back in April and May I did a few blog posts about the Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking program. That was just right around the time that our daughter was preparing to graduate from high school.

Now we’re in the home stretch of getting all the last minute things together for her dorm room and in less than a month, she’s going to be leaving home and living on the university campus.  We’re using all the available time we have left this summer to make memories and reinforce the things we’ve been trying to instill in her the last 18 years.

Things like, studying hard to keep up her grade point average.  Being respectful of others even though she may not agree with their ideas or opinions.  Keeping true to who she is and not giving in to the pressure of others.  Which leads into the conversation of underage drinking.

I’ve personally downloaded and read through the Parent Guide from Family Talk About Drinking, because it is an extremely good resource to tackle the tough job of coaching your young adult to think about the illegal use of alcohol when they are under 21 and the responsible use of alcohol when they turn 21.

We’ve never been shy about having an open dialogue about tough topics with Amber, but it is hard for me to NOT tell her what to do.  I have to keep reminding myself she’s an adult now herself, and I can no longer say “you can’t do that.”  And when I just want to issue an ultimatum to her, I turn to the FTAD Parent Guide to find a better way to discuss the subject.

So we sat down one day at the table and had a heart to heart and rather than lecturing her, I asked her questions like:

* What would you do if you went to a party and realized there was alcohol there?
* What would you do if your room mate(s) brought alcohol into your dorm room?
* Who would you call if you needed a ride home because a party went south? 

I shouldn’t have been surprised at her answers, they were the ‘right’ ones.  Parents really are the biggest influencers on teens’ decisions about drinking alcohol, but still it never hurts to reinforce and make them think over what their game plan would be should they find themselves in those situations.

I’ve found that listening to Amber and her concerns has been the best way to communicate with her.  If she feels comfortable talking to us about the things that bother her or that she is unsure of, she’ll be more likely to take our advice than if we just tell her what to do or lecture her about stuff.

We just helped her get a new laptop for university and one of the first things we installed on it was Skype, so that we can keep the conversations flowing even while she’s away at school.  Knowing that even though she’s not at home, we’re still available to chat with her about the  everyday hum drum AND the harder decisions and choices she has to make, will make the transition to university and living away from home a bit easier.

I had the chance to ask MJ Corcoran, FTAD’s certified parent coach, a question related to sending Amber off to college and what we should be asking the university staff and RAs about drinking.  She provided a great answer for us that I fully intend to carry out.

“…become familiar with the University’s policies for underage drinking.  Ask the staff and resident advisors what consequences the student will face if they are drinking underage.  What process does the university take and who is all involved? (Faculty, parents, etc.)  Create a personal connection with the dorm advisor and get their phone number.  Having another advocate for your child, not only provides a parent with some type of comfort but also gives your child a mentor.”

I encourage you all to head over to the FTAD Facebook page and download the Parent Guide.  Even if you aren’t sending a child off to college this fall, it’s never to early to start a dialogue about underage drinking – and the guide has plenty of ideas and conversation openings for you to begin.

What kind of discussions have you had with your children about underage drinking?

5 thoughts on “Family Talk About Drinking – Coaching Your Young Adult When They Leave for College

  1. This is such a great tip for all parents to pay attention to. Granted my kids are still young, I'm still grateful for this resource so that I will have it when they do get old enough to talk to about this issue.

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