Family Talk About Drinking – Putting Into Practice What We’ve Learned – #MC

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.
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For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with my blog, we just graduated our 18 year old daughter from high school this past weekend.  It was a bittersweet moment for me as we’ve rarely been apart for the past six years as we’ve homeschooled her since seventh grade. 

Perhaps you’re in the same stage of life as me, or perhaps you’re just getting started raising your children.  Either way there will come a time in your life when you’ll need to sit down and have a Family Talk About Drinking.  And Anheuser-Busch has some fantastic resources to help you do just that.  If you have never heard of FTAD, head over to their Facebook page to check it out and download their Family Talk About Drinking Parent Guide.  Yup, as a mom ready to send her daughter off to college, this is a useful resource I simply cannot live without.

We’ve openly discussed the consequences of underage and irresponsible drinking with Amber many times, but more recently and in the months to come we are focusing on using the tips that MJ Corcoran, FTAD’s parent coach, outlines in the FTAD Parent Guide.

But for today, I want to let you know how we’ve done that. 

Since we’re in the stage of parenting known as “coaching,” our goals with Amber were to

1. Listen with an open mind.  (Which is not always easy for me!)
2. Ask open-ended questions.  (What’s your plan if there’s drinking in your dorm room/at the event?)
3. Avoid drive-thru parenting.  (Rushing the conversation: as we know our teen is going to a party quickly impart advice like “Remember, no drinking, okay?” without having set clear boundaries previously.)
4. Continue to develop and use our coaching skills.  (Most of us will help our kids traverse the beginnings of their freshman year, buy their first car or sign their first lease, so why should our approach to alcohol be any different? This stage in their lives is just another opportunity to take advantage of and positively influence them)

Using that framework we’ve had some good discussions together.  I feel we’ve avoided the drive-thru parenting by establishing rules for what we expect in terms of her behavior while she’s living on campus (plus she has a scholarship that she needs to be mindful of losing, so hopefully that also motivates her to think twice). 

Listening with an open mind to her opinions is not always easy for me, so when we do have discussions about underage drinking and other subjects I’ve been mindful of not getting angry when she says something I disagree with.    I want her to be aware, compassionate and accepting, but not to make poor choices — of course that means I need to be a role model for her to do the same.  So instead of interrupting or lecturing, I’ve been trying to ask the open ended questions to get her to really think about the consequences of being in situations where alcohol or other substances may be present. 

Even though in a few short months she’ll be living elsewhere the conversations will continue, and I hope that she’ll always feel comfortable coming to us as parents to openly discuss anything that she needs advice or a sounding board for. 

I can’t wait for you to check out the Family Talk About Drinking Parent Guide. I think it’s a great resource, and it’s never to early to make yourself comfortable about discussing topics like underage drinking with your children.

I’d love to know– what are some of the ways YOU have discussions about underage drinking in your home? Please share how YOU use the different stages of parenting. Perhaps we can all learn a few tips!

9 thoughts on “Family Talk About Drinking – Putting Into Practice What We’ve Learned – #MC

  1. Your daughter has the cutest dimples 🙂 My husband and I already discuss when it would be appropriate to start talking with out children about certain very important issues…kids grow up too fast so sometimes I think we'll have to do things much earlier than I even imagined.

  2. My oldest is five but surprisingly, this conversation has already started. I think it's important to answer questions honestly and then just pray what you say sticks!

  3. These are some great tips! We always listened to our kids and answered all of their questions honestly. I now sit back and see them doing the same thing with their kids.

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