With the snow this week, and the holiday displays hitting retail stores like crazy, conversations are quickly turning to the holidays. This time of year brings to mind many things: baking, family, friends and holiday parties. Depending on your opinions about alcohol, these parties may include drinking. Even in households where drinking is socially acceptable, it is important to set up guidelines with the children in your life about what is legal, appropriate and what you expect.
I can remember the girl in my class whose mom was home when my friends and I came over, and the alcohol came out. Not only does it send the wrong message when a parent hosts a party with teens where alcohol is being served, it is illegal. Declare your home a party safe house. Monitor the alcohol that is in your home and connect with other parents where your child spends time to ensure that they know what you expect.
Do you remember this old 80s ad: Do you know where your kids are? Who their friends are? Who their friend’s parents are and what is important to them? As my oldest entered middle school this year, this seems more ominous than ever. Activities after school, dances, youth group, this club, that group… these all crowd our calendar more than ever. And, at each one of these activities are people who influence our daughter’s choices.
This is part of her growing independence, however it is important that she knows what we expect of her. And the same is true in your child’s life. In a recent study, 64% of eighth graders said alcohol was “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get and one in three 8th graders reported drinking within the last year. One of the most important things you can do to influence your child’s response to drinking is to talk about it, and your family table is the perfect place to bring up the conversation. Need some ideas for how to start the conversation? There are a number of resources at Talk: They Hear You.
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