Q & A With Parents

Read how parents of Gold Medalist Aly Raisman talk to their kids about underage drinking and living a healthy lifestyle.

In your opinion, how are adolescents' lives different today than when you were growing up?

It seems like there is so much more peer pressure on kids today. The abundance of social media presents challenges as well. With all of the technology today young people aren’t interacting with each other like they used to.

What kind of things do you do to encourage meaningful communication in your family?

We encourage our children to be open and honest with us about everything. We want to make sure they know we support them and are there for them no matter what.

In your opinion, what is the best thing that parents can do to prevent their kids from drinking while underage?

Talk to your kids about making good, healthy life choices and not giving into peer pressure.

What do you think are teens' biggest fears growing up?

Fitting in.

What do you think are parents' biggest fears as their kids grow up?

Will my kids be healthy and safe?

Did you impress upon Aly the need to set a good example for her younger siblings with regard to underage drinking and healthy lifestyle? How did you do it?

We’ve always talked to our kids about making good choices. We also make sure we set a good example ourselves. Of course since Aly is the oldest she was in a position to set a good example. Her motivation and drive with her sport and her life choices didn’t mix with underage drinking, and her siblings have seen how that paid off for her.

Some say practice makes perfect. Do you find it's easier to talk with your kids about healthy lifestyle decisions from one sibling to the next?

Living a healthy lifestyle and making good choices is just something we incorporate into our daily life. I’m sure seeing the successes of their older siblings really helps our youngest two daughters to see why it is important.

What do you feel is the best way to explain the dangers of underage drinking to kids? Why?

We explain how it is difficult to make wise and safe decisions when you engage in underage drinking, and that can affect you later in life. Keeping the dialogue open is important.

How did you talk to your teen about alcohol use to begin with? How did you continue the dialogue?

Whenever the opportunity arises. We could be watching a movie or maybe we heard about an incident in the community. Talking about it in an open environment is the key.

Which "teachable" moments have offered you the best opportunities to talk to your kids about serious topics? Why?

We find the best moments are ones that just come naturally rather than scheduling formal, sit-down, serious talks.

How has your role as parents impacted your own drinking behavior?

Neither of us has ever abused alcohol or engaged in any sort of binge drinking. Having a drink is OK for those over 21 as long as it is in moderation. Whenever we have alcohol it is in moderation.

Have your kids ever questioned you, when they've seen you drinking? How did you handle it?

As we said, when we do have a drink, it is always in the right environment and in moderation, so our kids have not had a problem with it.

What would you do about other teens experimenting with alcohol? Would you tell their parents?

As a parent we would hope someone would reach out to us if our child(ren) were engaging in risky behavior so yes we would try and reach out to the parent.

What would you do if other adults provided your child with alcohol?

I would hope my children would feel comfortable turning it down. I would discuss the details of the situation with my child first, and based on that conversation, would then decide if it was necessary to do anything further.

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