Being a parent there are many things that we worry about when it comes to our children. Day in and day out we worry about what they learn, what they see, what they hear, and whether or not they are being influenced by things around them. It is a constant battle. As parents it is our job to talk to our kids about sensitive matters, and teach them what is right and wrong. I am very open with my kids when it comes to talking about most things. I will seize a moment and use it to teach them a useful lesson, or tell them why some things that they hear or see may not be appropriate.
About a year ago I had a problem with one of my 7 year old sons searching the Internet for something very inappropriate thanks to a boy in his class. I sat him down and had a talk with him about why what he was trying to see was not safe for his little eyes. The Internet is just one medium for which kids may run across inappropriate things. Walking around from day to day and encountering older teens and adults is going to eventually lead to young ones hearing or seeing something that they probably shouldn't. Alcohol consumption is one of these things.
Personally, I hardly touch alcohol in front of my children. I do not consume much alcohol anyway. I am the type that may sip on the same wine cooler for a full evening. And I'm never going to drink heavily in front of my children. However, I cannot control what others do. Relatives, friends, and others may overdo it at parties leading to questions from kids. I already say that my kids are wise beyond their years, so they have no problem asking grown up questions! My kids have experienced seeing what happens when adults drink a couple of times. The more that kids attend family functions, block parties, family reunions, and other parties, chances are they will notice adults consuming alcohol.
For the past few days in the car while commuting to school for some reason my kids have had questions about beer, wine, and liquor in general. This was ironic since I had to write this post. I took advantage of the situation and answered their questions.
Here are 4 lessons that I try to teach my kids about alcohol:
1. Alcoholic Beverages are to be consumed by adults only: When my kids were asking questions in the car I said something like “What is going on with all of these questions about alcohol?” One of my kids said, “I'm just trying to find out what you were like in your teen years.” I quickly told them that I did not drink alcohol when I was a teenager! I told them that alcoholic beverages are for adults 21 and over only.
2. You do not need to drink alcohol to have a good time: Some believe that they cannot have a good time at a party without drinking alcohol. I disagree. And I want my kids to know that it is not necessary to consume alcohol to enjoy yourself at a party.
3. Drinking alcohol can slow down your motor skills: Besides making you feel good for a few minutes drinking can have some unwanted side effects. Alcohol can inhibit your ability to think, and decrease your response time in emergency situations.
4. Drinking and driving is very dangerous: I have mentioned before that my kids often comment on the signs that we have here in Illinois that alert us to the number of road deaths each year. The fact is that some of these accidents were alcohol related. My kids have heard plenty of news reports about drivers getting DUIs, or about fatal accidents involving alcohol use. Since I talk to my kids about everything they are well aware that drinking and driving is very dangerous.
These discussions with my kids have also come up when planning my June wedding. They heard me discussing what alcohol to order, how much wine to get, how many people coming actually drink. And I constantly keep reminding my kids is that adults should always drink responsibly. Of course there is likely going to be a champagne toast at the wedding. There will be some people drinking wine. But we are determined to make sure that the party stays tame. I may just use this a version of this awesome sign that a friend sent me from Pinterest to remind adults that they should be aware of their behavior at all times. 🙂 Here is one that I found on Etsy:
How do you talk to your kids about sensitive subjects like responsible alcohol use?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. All opinions are my own.