Stop, Look, Listen: Tweens and Underage Drinking
If you have been around here for any amount of time you may have picked up on the fact that I don’t get too serious.
Humor is my homeboy.
I know we just observed April Fool’s Day, the pinnacle of all silliness, but let’s put funny on pause and talk tweens and underage drinking.
Stop, Look, Listen
*This is post was created in partnership with Ask. Listen. Learn. All opinion is my own.
Sometimes you have to dig deep and get a little serious.
And if there is ever a serious topic tis underage drinking.
My kids are 12, almost 15, and 17. We are in the thick of tween and teen-dom. Conversations can be absolutely ridiculous around here.
But they can also be dead serious.
I know how life gets, you guys. It gets busy.
We (parents) often put our heads down and dig in as we power through our busy days. We taxi, and prep meals, and work, and clean, and make calls, and plan for the days ahead. We attend choir concerts, soccer games, school family fun nights, attend meetings, and then burn the midnight oil because there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.
However, in the midst of all the doing it is imperative we stop, look, and listen to our kiddos.
Stop what you are doing.
I was a little girl a very long time ago, but we won’t go into that.
My point is… Stop, Look, and Listen applies to parenting as well. It applies particularly as we craft our relationships with our kids and teach them about sharing… and kindness… even underage drinking.
I find I easily become distracted by the business of running a family. I can easily become a slave to the calendar and before I know it, I barely have time to simply try to be on time! It is so very easy to get caught up in the mad dash here and there. It is far too easy to miss out on opportunities to dig deeper with my kids.
Just the other day one of my kids was talking to me. I was on my computer. I realized I was nodding yes and mumbling “uh-huh”, but didn’t hear a word as I looked up at my kid and then back down at my computer.
Teaching our kids about the dangers of underage drinking shouldn’t just happen in the moment there’s a critical need to have a conversation about it. In our day-to-day conversations we need to set a standard of communication. That starts with stopping, looking, and listening when our kids are ready to talk.
When our kids talk we need to stop. Stop what we are doing and…
Kids are smart. Though they persist even if we are not looking… they feel it when we are half-committed to their words. Just like you feel it when you try to talk to someone who is only half-listening. By stopping then looking, the final step comes much more easily…
It is likely most of the conversations are a lot of words that may or may not be particularly intriguing; but building a rapport with your tween helps build trust and comfort so when the conversation does shift to something more significant… you are both ready to navigate and dig deeper.
The times I stop, look, and listen… those are the times that both my child and I get more from the conversation. My kids feel the freedom to open up and give more details, and it gives me the freedom to ask more questions to get details, and if the timing is right… give some wisdom to chew on.
Wisdom they will likely need at a time we cannot predict.
The time to talk to our tweens about alcohol is now… as we take advantage of those daily conversations. We don’t know when they will be put in a position to make a hard decision, but we want them to be ready with information they learn from us, not their peers.
Stop. Look. Listen.
The older kids get, the more they need us and our attention. They need to know they can come talk to us and know we will not brush them off. In the daily moments we have a great opportunity to establish our approachability with our kids. If we stop what we are doing, look at our kids while they are talking, and listen to what they are saying… there are no guarantees. However, the chances tweens will do the right thing are far greater if they are equipped with the information and strategies talked about in those small conversations with mom and dad over time.
Are you stopping, looking, and listening, but don’t know how to talk to your tween about underage drinking? Ask. Listen. Learn is loaded with resources and ideas on not only how to talk to your tween, but filled with resources for you to lean on as you figure out how to talk about underage drinking.
Oh, and I LOVE this video on how alcohol affects the brain. It’s a must-watch. What are your strategies for getting your kids talking? How do you educate your own kids about underage drinking?