This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org and their Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program. All opinions are my own. This group is a not-for-profit organization working to fight underage drinking that I’m proud to work with.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve become a less “filtered” person, both with my adult relationships and with my kids. What I mean by this, is that I’m more consciously approaching my conversations with honest and direct answers, answers, especially during this time in our society when conversations are so very important.
With middle schooled aged kids that are interacting on social media with their friends and family members, I know that these types of platforms offer no filters during their browsing experience. Sure, my kids’ accounts are locked and they are followed by their friends and family members, but what they see is often left at the mercy of the algorithm.
Take last week for example. We went to celebrate Mardi Gras with our family members in Uptown New Orleans; a yearly, Sunday family day tradition of ours, to watch the parades, hang out with our extended family, and celebrate.
My kids and I were on the parade route catching beads when I decided to snap a few pictures and post one on Instagram. A few hours later, my daughter was on my Instagram account and tapped on some of the hashtags I had used for our photo.
While having a conversation with another adult, she gently tapped me on my shoulder and asked, “mom, I know people drink during Mardi Gras, but OMG somebody crashed their car into the people at the parade! I hope they didn’t kill anyone.” Image.
And that, my friend, is how what began as a family activity, turned into a discussion of adult decisions and consequences. About how alcohol is something to be enjoyed in moderation, as an adult, and how drinking too much can lead to people doing things they would otherwise not be very proud of.
For me, it’s essential to help my kids understand that their decisions can have consequences -in all areas of their lives. Some consequences will be obvious (examples include slurred speech, hangovers) and some will be less so (such as the effect that alcohol has on the developing brain). In just a few years, they’ll be celebrating Mardi Gras with their friends and their family members, and there will be drinking. Perhaps someone else will be driving a car, and the decision whether or not to get in the car with a person that has had too much to drink will be left to my child to make.
Having partnered with Responsibility.org for a couple of years now, I’m much better equipped to have these type of conversations, more candidly, less filtered with a heartfelt and honest approach with my kids. And the resources from Ask, Listen, Learn are perfect for my kids at this stage in their lives.
Often, it’s not about what I say to my kids; but how both my husband and I approach the subject. We show them the information and use examples (like the photos they saw on the explore page while on my Instagram account) to explain what we are sharing. They know I come from a place of concern for their safety and well-being and just want them to be aware of the reality that is all around them.
How do you talk to your kids about alcohol? Do you have any helpful tips?