“I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”
In a little over two weeks two MAJOR events will take place – one right after the other. Our daughter will be attending her senior prom and the very next day she’ll be graduating from high school.
Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday we were putting her on the Kindergarten bus for the very first time, and in just two weeks we’ll be watching her walking across the stage to receive her high school graduation diploma. Sigh…
I wish she was looking at me, smiling, without the darn cellphone in her hand in the above photo. Oh well. I’ll make up for it on the day of the prom and at graduation the next day.
I have to laugh about prom. She was going to go with one of her friends since they were both single. One thing lead to another and my daughter ended up asking a male friend of her’s to go to promo with her (he graduated last year). It’s strictly a friend going with a friend sort of deal.
As luck would have it our daughter has a boyfriend (or so it would appear that way) who is also going to prom this year with a female friend of his. This should be interesting.
With all this running around looking for prom shoes, making appointments to get her hair, makeup and nails done, as well as looking for jewelry and getting her dress altered it has given me plenty of times to talk to our daughter about what we expect at prom and graduation.
We know what happens after prom is over. Most kids go back to someone’s house to party (or another location) and most likely there will be alcohol involved. I WISH that wasn’t something we had to worry about. I wish teens would know better.
I think the school purposely scheduled graduation the following day to hopefully prevent students from drinking and getting drunk after prom. They also had to sign documentation that in the event a student is caught drinking after prom they will NOT be allowed to graduate with their classmates the following day. Hopefully that is enough to scare most kids.
My daughter and I have used all the car trips getting her ready for prom as a platform to discuss drinking and how she can avoid getting caught up in peer pressure to drink. When we are driving there are few distractions (except the cellphone which I make put away). I also think it helps her not to have to look me in the eyes and tell me about certain things. I think that puts her more at ease.
When we are driving around in the car she will open up to me about just about anything.
My daughter also feels more comfortable opening up to me about things then my husband. My husband tends to react FIRST then get involved in a conversation. Another words, if he finds out she did something to break the rules he’ll automatically ground her BEFORE discussing it with her. I do things the other way around. I discuss things first and foremost to make sure she fully understands what she did was wrong and why we have these rules in place. Then I ground her accordingly.
Underage drinking is not only something we are totally against, it’s also against the law. If she is found at a party where drinking is taking place – even if she’s not drinking – she can be found guilty by association. I don’t want anything to jeopardize her college life or future career.
As a parent I know how challenging it is to raise teens. Trust me, it’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s a million times more difficult than raising a toddler or child.
If you need help talking to your teenager about underage drinking I have a great resource that could help. It’s called Family Talk About Drinking (FTAD). It’s a website created by Anheuser-Busch to help parents find ways to talk to their children (not just teens) about underage drinking.
The program has actually been around for 20+ years.
The program is broken up into the three main stages of parenting;
- Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7)
- The Facilitator (for children ages 8-13)
- The Coach (for children ages 14-21)
Yes! Believe it or not it’s never too early to talk to your child about drinking. Even young children can be taught that drinking alcohol is wrong until they are 21 years of age or older.
Growing up my dad used to let me take sips of his Screwdriver mixed drink, as well as Vodka Collins. My uncle used to let us take sips of beer. But times were different back then. Underage drinking wasn’t as prevalent as it is these days.
Family Talk About Drinking has tips and suggestions from a certified educator and parent coach named MJ Corcoran. Ms. Corcoran has some excellent tips that all families can put into place TODAY.
Find Windows of Opportunity to Talk – When you have a teenager, windows of opportunity to talk can open and close fast. Use prom and graduation to continue the conversation around underage drinking. Set clear boundaries and encourage good decision-making this prom and graduation season.
Connect with Your Teen – Two things you can do to connect with your teen: listen and respect their opinion. In turn, they’ll be much more likely to talk with you about the tough issues – like underage drinking.
Ask Open-Ended Questions – During prom and graduation season, be sure to ask open-ended questions to help your teen think through potential scenarios involving alcohol.
Encourage Accountability – In the busy time leading up to prom and graduation, a text is not enough. Encourage accountability and check in with a call.
I like the “Encourage Accountability” tip. I have already told our daughter that we would appreciate updates via text while AT prom, but once she leaves prom we expect phone calls to let us know where she is and who she is with. She’s supposed to go to her friend’s house to sleep over, but you never know. A last minute party invitation might come through. We NEED to know where she is at all times.
The next couple of weeks are going to be stressful and bittersweet at the same time with both prom and graduation happening one day after the other. At least once stress is alleviated and that is that our daughter knows how we feel about drinking before, during or after prom and graduation, and what the repercussions of breaking the rules will be.
To see what others have to say about talking to children and teens about drinking, check out the hashtag #ABFamilyTalk.
Do you talk to your child or teen about drinking? How do you go about expressing your concerns? Did your parents talk to YOU about drinking? Feel free to share your thoughts.