Filtering Less, Speaking to Kids More

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?

 

February 28, 2018

13 thoughts on “Filtering Less, Speaking to Kids More”

  1. Sue Ellen says:

    I’ve been a blog reader of yours for 5 years and I always find your posts so helpful. My daughter is now 9 and this came at the right time to talk to her.

  2. Anna says:

    Very helpful.

  3. Louise says:

    Thanks for this honest post about how to talk to our kids. I feel that people online either use humor to share subjects like this or they just avoid it completely. I’m all about people that know where they stand. They are upfront and share things as they are.

  4. Sarah says:

    I am 14 and a reader of your blog with my mom for a few years now. I thought I’d leave you a message to say thanks for sharing how you talk to your kids. you seem like a really cool mom (I follow you on Instagram) and I know you have helped my family eat better. My mom talks to me all the time about things but I know it’s helpful for her to read this things.

  5. Matt says:

    Great post, Laura. Thank you for sharing your parenting tips.

  6. Jenna says:

    Great post laura. Thanks for being open and sharing this with us.

  7. Jessica says:

    Great post and a terrific example for parents everywhere.

  8. Jennifer C says:

    My exhusband was an alcoholic. Leaving him was the hardest decision I had to make (I still loved him) but my children were growing up with a bad influence over their lives (they were 7 and 9 when I left him). Now they are 15 and 17 and I know that talking to them about alcohol openly is very important. I wish I had the courage to speak to them earlier (while I was till married) about what was happening but I didn’t know how. Thank you for sharing this post, Laura.

  9. Adrianne says:

    I loved this post, Laura. Thank you for being open to sharing how you talk to your kids.

  10. Selena says:

    Great post. Last time I went to Mardi Gras was in 1997 and I was very drunk. Not a good example for my kids. Definitely not. Now, my oldest is 18 and told me he wants to go to college in New Orleans and I have this image that all he’ll do is drink and drink and drink…. I guess that’s in any college. I need to up my game on talking to him about making the right choices. Thanks for the encouragement.

  11. Jenna says:

    super helpful parenting post. thanks Laura!

  12. Anna Jones says:

    This is an important topic and something parents need to talk to their kids about. It always surprises me how little many parents talk to their kids and it leaves us, their coaches, to approach these subjects. I am a gymnastics coach for both girls and boys 10-17 and I can tell you that the conversations of alcohol are happening at the gym even as young as 12. Kids have free time. and parents are busy and are very distracted. It’s no excuse. Thank you for getting your audience to realize they need to talk to their kids more.

  13. Tara says:

    Very important topic. Thanks for sharing Laura.

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