It’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it.
Did you know? 64% of teens say that they became aware of alcohol in fifth grade. Most parents, however, think that the best time to discuss it is between sixth and eight grade. TheAlcoholTalk.com, a new campaign focusing on alcohol awareness and talking to teens about alcohol, has created useful and effective strategies for talking with teens about alcohol.
Developed in part by acclaimed parenting authority, author, and clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, TheAlcoholTalk.com provides a series of key words and conversation starters to guide parents in this often uncomfortable discussion. The campaign strategy was created by interpreting data pulled from more than 40 hours of focus groups with experts, parents, and the teens themselves.
As the above statistic shows, parents should be talking with their teens about alcohol earlier than middle school. According to The Alcohol Talk, the conversation should begin between the ages of 10 and 12 and evolve as the child matures. It is important to know what your teen is doing and take cues from them to know the right time to bring up the topic.
TheAlcoholTalk.com suggests that parents should begin by developing a rapport with their children. Listen to them and learn what is on their mind. Experts say that asking questions is a good way to start the conversation. When a topic comes up in conversation that could be a good lead in, try saying things like:
- "Wow, tell me more about that."
- "I wonder what you would do."
- "What do you think happened to those football players who got caught drinking?"
- "How would you solve it?"
Once parents have found a way to start the conversation, it can be difficult to find ways to keep it productive. TheAlcoholTalk.com suggests talking about the consequences. Talk about how using alcohol can affect them. For example, try asking “how do you think alcohol affects your mind and body?”
Another good topic is the legal considerations. Try something like “Do you understand the legal consequences of underage drinking?”
The campaign works to remind parents that not all language is verbal and actions speak louder than words. Parents should practice what they preach and remember to drink responsibly. Being a positive example is a great way to teach children and gives parents a great way to reinforce the lessons you want them to learn.
The campaign stresses that parents should provide children with opportunities to come up with their own thoughts and opinions and should avoid dictating facts. Remember to use your resources such as TV shows or magazine articles as starting points. Lastly, make sure you are prepared for the conversation, and TheAlcoholTalk.com is a great place to start.
For more information for parents on talking with their teens about drinking, check out new alcohol awareness campaign www.thealcoholtalk.com.