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The holidays bring a lot of celebrations and meals and if there is one thing my family enjoys doing it’s celebrating the season by being together.
Our holiday period begins right before Halloween, when we get together (more than once) to celebrate my middle son’s birthday. After that, we host family and friends on a Halloween party, and this year we are also having a big 13-year anniversary party mid-November. And then, it’s non-stop with Thanksgiving and an event-filled December. We might celebrate more often than most people, but the South has parties and parades year-round.
Before becoming a parent, I was quite lenient around the topic of partying and alcohol. I’ve always believed that everyone should celebrate as they wish, inside their homes, and responsibly out in public areas.
However, things changed after becoming a parent. More than once my kids have asked to “try” and “have a sip” of an adult beverage, to which the response has always been “this is for adults and when you are an adult, you can try it.” I have to admit that the thought “they are not going to like it so what’s the big deal” has crossed my mind, and apparently, I’m just like 1 in 4 moms out there who believe the same thing.
Research shows that kids who have tried alcohol before the age of 12 are seven times more likely to have alcohol issues as adults, and this scares me quite a bit since much of the attitude around New Orleans is very passé. After all, it’s the birthplace of “let the good times roll.”
We do celebrate and have a blast, but I feel that parenting today is more difficult than ever, so making sure my kids understand the reasons behind why a sip isn’t ok is important. Will they be better prepared at resisting peer pressure in their teenage and college years just because they know what alcohol tastes like? Definitely not.
Celebrating the holidays safely is important as well as having difficult conversations with our kids regarding alcohol. Since parenting did not come with a handbook, I depend on helpful organizations like Responsibility.org and their Talk Early program to guide me through knowing what to talk about, and how to approach some of the most difficult topics and I’m grateful to have a place that I can go as a parent that shares information regarding the best strategies.
How do you talk to your kids about alcohol?