I’m a big fan of seizing teachable moments to have age appropriate conversations with our kids as they ask questions about all sorts of topics. One topic that comes up when we go out to eat often involves alcohol. Our daughter who loves to read often peruses the beverage list. Our son looks around at beer signs on the wall of our favorite Tex Mex place. They both ask about the different types of glasses that are part of the place setting and the kinds of stemware we have in our cabinets at home.
These questions lead to conversations about alcohol. Why are there so many kinds of wine? Why does that particular beer company use that image on their logo? How does it taste? Why do people drink? Why do you have to buy some alcohol in a special store and how come you have to show your license?
By having an ongoing conversation about alcohol with our elementary aged children ensures that they’re getting information they need in an age appropriate way. We’ve opened the door to talking about alcohol and alcohol consumption to provide them with facts that will allow them to make good choices in the future.
Right now our kids aren’t really interested in alcohol. They’re simply curious about it just as they are about so many other things but having an open dialogue allows us to talk about the risks of underage drinking. We’re honest. We’re real. We tell them about what happens when you drink too much, whether you’re legally allowed to or not.
Earlier this month I joined a small group of influential bloggers from around the country for #TalkEarly, a program sponsored by The Century Council, a nonprofit formed by the distilled spirits industry to provide education about the misuse of alcohol and reduce underage drinking. During our time at #TalkEarly we heard from Century Council board members, Dr. Anthony Wolf, Ph.D, a child psychologist and well known parenting author and Lisa Graham Keegan, one of the nation’s best known and respected education reformers, while talking about the real consequences of underage drinking and getting to know each other. Inspired by our day, each one of us shared our words to live by that can be found on The Century Council’s YouTube channel.
One thing that stuck with me throughout the day was that it’s never too early to talk to your kids about the important topic of underage drinking. In our home, my husband and I subscribe to the theory that if we talk about the easy and hard stuff, it lets our kids know they can come to us at any time about any topic.
Over the next five months, I’ll be talking more about the important issues surrounding underage drinking while sharing tips and resources for you to create conversations about underage drinking in your home. After all, it’s important to #TalkEarly and seize those teachable moments to talk to your kids about serious issues in age appropriate ways.