Now that you’ve (somewhat) settled into the new school year, let’s talk about the next steps. As a parent of a Middle Schooler, it’s important to recognize the struggles that they face, or will face, with this new chapter.
Responsibility.org has created an important infographic to explore the ways to start this conversation about peer pressure. Each new school year means a new wave of peer pressure. How have you planned to discuss how your student is dealing with that pressure?
Here are some important points to help you start your conversation:
1. Have they made new friends?
If there are new friends in the picture, are you and their parents on the same page on saying NO to underage drinking? Do you think these friends are a positive influence? It’s important to let your growing teen make decisions about friends on their own, but always be there to discuss the tough topics if you think his or her new friends are trying to answer these questions for your kid.
2. Asking “How was your day?!” Without actually saying “How was your day?!”
Middle Schoolers are a tough age to reach. We’ve noticed that establishing an interaction that’s side-by-side instead of face-to-face helps smooth that interaction and seems a lot less confrontational. Also, asking specific questions that are easy to answer for them such as “do you like your teacher?” or “where do you usually hang out at school?” are more natural segues into more complex questions.
3. Being an active listener.
Listen when you think they want to be heard. Teens aren’t the easiest to read, so it’s being an active listener and reading between the lines, that you find out what’s really pressuring your middle schooler.
These are only 3 of the many tips that could help facilitate a conversation about alcohol with your kids. As they grow, your parenting style must reflect the new-found pressures that they’ll face. Face them together.