Every parent is anxious about the moment when they have to start talking to their kids about alcohol. Especially in the days of social media, social pressure, and the availability of alcohol to younger and younger children, the conversation tends to more and more easily enter the realm of awkward.
But, awkward or else, the communication must be accomplished, especially before kids go off to college. So to help you map your plan of communication, follow these five tips for talking to your children about alcohol – point them to online resources for reference, don’t judge or initiate conflict, find a third party for them to talk honestly with, let the past go, and remind them that safety is the most important factor to you.
Point Them To Online Resources
Kids don’t always believe their parents, but they may be more likely to accept information from online resources, especially online resources about drugs and alcohol. To start your discussion with them, simply have a list of links that they can click through to see how things are being presented from other people’s perspectives, including professionals like doctors and therapists.
Don’t Judge or Initiate Conflict
One of the major issues with adults talking to kids about alcohol is that they come across as judgmental or aggressive. Avoid this at all costs! There are even alcohol discussion lists that you can go through to try to keep your cool while going through the topic with your children. Prep yourself first so that you aren’t going to get mad when they say things that appear to you to be ignorant or defensive. Moving from the teen years into drinking age is difficult for almost everyone.
Find a Third Party They Can Talk To
If you, as a parent, aren’t comfortable with the discussion, it’s no big deal to find an alcohol counselor to talk with your children casually. Even a short phone conversation with a professional can be a tremendous help in opening up lines of communication at this particularly delicate stage of connection between parent and child.
Let the Past Go
If there have been issues in the past with alcohol, whether they are because of the parent or because of the child, the best thing to do is let all of the past go before initiating a new conversation. This is a topic that often requires a fresh start.
Remind Them That In Emergencies, Nothing But Safety Matters
No matter what, you child needs to know that in the event of an emergency, especially related to alcohol, you’ll be there to help, no questions asked at that moment. There should never be any fear about calling for help just because a parent would disapprove of the situation itself.