Dry January, as it’s colloquially known, is an opportunity to press the pause button on enjoying alcoholic beverages for a month.
For adults, this can be a chance to jump start the year by saving a few calories, or a time to reflect on alcohol responsibility. Yet for kids, January is always dry.
We need to do a better job connecting so I am making my New Year’s Parenting resolution to give her the gift of conversation. This works just in time for the holidays too. In ways both big and small, I am going to make sure we have those talks that will build a stronger bond and also keep her confident and safe as she makes healthy choices. (Here’s a good guide for when those tough questions about alcohol come up.)
When it comes to answering why she can’t have alcohol until the legal age of 21, I’m grateful for the resources on Ask. Listen. Learn. They help me answer that exact question.
The first part of the answer is that “privileges come with age.” It’s a topic we’ve revisited many, many times in our home. Sometimes those privileges are amazing – the ability to go to school or play on age-based teams and eventually, yes, driving.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year we had just relaunched Ask, Listen, Learn with a massive suite of new brain-related content. Before our 2016 launch day, Ask, Listen, Learn had enjoyed over a decade of success as the most highly distributed program of its kind. Underage drinking remains at an all-time low yet, to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of education, we set out to create new content focused on two things: technology and brain science.
We wanted to produce cutting edge digital content, focus on the facts, and keep kids interested and entertained. We developed a comprehensive series of animated videos with corresponding lesson plans designed to teach kids about what the brain does, what alcohol does to it, and what THAT does to them.
For parents of young children, Halloween safety means adding reflective tape to costumes, reviewing the rules about not going into a stranger’s house, and checking candy for signs of tampering.
As they enter middle school and start testing boundaries, we need to talk about appropriate costumes, tricks and pranks that are not so funny, and the challenges awaiting them at parties.
I think most parents nod in agreement when hearing the quote “The days are long but the years are short” by Gretchen Rubin. As your children get older, both the days and the years fly by with ever-increasing speed.
As a parent, it’s important to feel comfortable talking to your child about alcohol, and that in return, they feel comfortable coming to you with their questions and concerns. Being prepared to answer some common questions can help you feel more confident about having conversations about alcohol and underage drinking as they grow! Here are some of the questions that come up often—and ways to answer them in ways that resonate well with tweens.
As your budding adolescents get older, the chances that they will be exposed to alcohol increase. It’s almost inevitable that at some point your children will have to make the choice to say YES or NO to alcohol. They may be taken by surprise when put in this situation. They may be trying hard to fit in with a cool crowd and have trouble thinking up good responses from scratch. That’s why they need to have some answers at the ready, and why having conversations about saying NO are so important.
Whether your child raises it or you broach the subject of drinking, when it does come up, make your views utterly clear. Your tween may not parrot your opinions the way he did when he was seven, but he still very much cares what you think.