We have exciting news here at The Sisterhood!
Ellen: No, it’s not that the kids are going back to school. Everyone has that news. Sheesh, we’re not that boring. I mean we’ll take precious time to compose an ode to our hatred for school lunches, but back to school? Meh.
Erin: And yes, we are co-authors in the best selling anthology “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth,” but we are taking a fifteen minute break away from promoting that.
Ellen: I’m not even announcing that I’ve cleaned out my minivan . . . because I haven’t. What’s the point? The hamster wheel of carpooling is manically spinning once again.
Erin: Here is what we ARE announcing: We are partnered with The Century Council as Blog Ambassadors for their #TalkEarly summit. This organization is dedicated to fighting underage drinking, binge drinking, and driving under the influence.
Ellen: We are so excited to be championing how and why to talk to your children early and often about underage drinking. We all need to start talking about these topics long before we’re worried about first drinks or even driving.
Erin: Have you just passed out from the enormity of the subject?
Ellen: We know, right?
Erin: Let’s get a little into the how first. Getting back to the carpooling and the endless hours in the minivan . . .
Ellen: Do we have to? I’m breaking out in hives thinking about carpool lines.
Erin: We all are, but what if we all decided to use that time for good? Talking to your kids shouldn’t be a dump and dash. You’ve got to dole out your morsels of advice real nice and slow. Think storybook character in a deep dark wood.
Ellen: And now I have visions of Hansel and Gretel in my head, but maybe that’s appropriate. It can feel gruesome to tackle tough subjects with your kids.
Erin: All breadcrumbs aside, we should all start thinking in terms of opening dialogues with our kids, not “having talks.” The car is a great place to do this because you can’t stare your kid in the eye. By removing the laser beam intensity, the savage beast feel less edgy. As long as you feed “it” at regular intervals and let “it” control the radio, you now have a great opportunity to get your dialogue on.
Ellen: I like to think of it as “Spiral Discussions.” An important topic is not just addressed once and checked off the parenting list. I’m always looking for openings to discuss important topics with my kids. The key to this is being an ACTIVE LISTENER . . .
Erin: Which is easier said then done.
Ellen: See? You interrupted me right there.
Erin: That’s where the active part comes in. It’s hard to be a good listener.
Ellen: But it’s easier to get your point across when you have a good graphic . . . I mean to explain my Spiral Discussions technique. Don’t show your kids graphics while your driving.
Erin: That’s just dangerous and would cause eye rolls of epic proportions. Although your kid might make history as the first person to actually see her own brain.
Ellen: Having trouble getting the conversation ball rolling? My all time favorite convo starter is “Who did you sit next to at lunch today?”
I have used this question since kindergarten. I asked my 15 y/o if she thought it was an intrusive question and she said no. In fact, she told me it was pretty good because it always got her talking about her friends which is easier than being grilled about herself. What your children say about their friends will give you a world of information about their social atmospheres.
Erin: I feel like I need to laminate that moment in history for you. Validation from a teenager is rarer than all of the checkout lanes being open at Walmart.
Ellen: I know! But speaking of a world of information, we don’t have to parcel out all of our tidbits at once.
Erin: Exactly! We’ll eek out little morsels over the next few months from The Century Council about talking to your kids. We’ll share the fabulous resources from The Century Council as well as our own experiences. In our own little way, we’ll be laying a trail of breadcrumbs in the woods.
Ellen: A trail that will lead to a better relationship with your kids, NOT an evil witch’s abode like in Hansel and Gretel.
Erin: I’m sorry I brought up the storybook analogy, but we are going to leave you with one more morsel.
These are our “Words to Live By”.
What are Yours?
You can follow #TalkEarly on Twitter, Pinterest, and The Century Council Website.
We are happy to be employed as blog ambassadors for The Century Council. All opinions, morsels, breadcrumbs, spirals, and messy minivans are all our own.
By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski