#TalkEarly: Rise Above the Teen and Tween Grumpiness

We know you just don’t want to go there, but we are taking you there now.

#TalkEarly Rise Above The Teen and Tween Grumpiness

Erin: No, it’s not the DMV. It’s worse. We are traveling to the land of parental responsibilities: talking about alcohol with your kids.

Ellen: The cattle call at the DMV sounds like a pleasure now, doesn’t it? We know the mere THOUGHT of the discussion can make you break out in the type of hives you haven’t experienced since you ditched Red Dye #40.

Erin:  Lucky for you, we’re here to help by suggesting the best paper bag to control your hyperventilation.

Why It Is Important to #TalkEarlyEllen: Just kidding.  We have access to some great resources that can help you too.

Erin: But it’s too soon, you say. He still plays with Legos, you say. She still pulls out her Barbies every chance she gets. We can’t possibly be talking about this stuff already.

Ellen:  Unclench your teeth and your butt cheeks because this is actually the perfect time to get this particular conversation ball rolling.  Talking early long before your child is tempted to drink or even go anywhere near a party is ideal because underage drinking increases with age.

Erin:  But that is not all, talking early also lets you discover how to approach your child long before the stakes are high.  It also establishes you’re open to talk about stuff. All stuff. Not just their favorite video games, but their hopes, their fears, and scary stuff too. You set the precedent that you are reliable and available.

Ellen: And the Miss Congeniality of the Availability Pageant is “The Good Listener”. As hard as it may be, a good listener keeps her mouth shut until the other person finishes sharing.

Erin:  But as a parent, you need to up your game even more. You really need to evaluate how your child wants to be approached.

Ellen: Since we are knee deep with teens and tweens, we decided to poll our own kids on how they like to be approached. Hear their answers in their own words. It’s really as easy as asking.

Erin: We were surprised ourselves by their candor, but also by the variety and depth of their responses.

Ellen: We actually have a lot of one-on-one conversations in my house, but I don’t think it’s obvious because we leave room for conversations to happen organically. Room that is created by doing things together like swimming and hiking. My tween and teen girls are both pretty open to discussions, but not every kid is like that.

Erin: Absolutely. In my house, I have to honor the different ways my kids communicate. Some of them want one-on-one time but some of  my kids feel like that’s a confrontation.

Ellen: But what is true for every kid is that these conversations need time and space to develop. It helps to create these expectations for these spaces early in their childhoods because as kids grow and change, so can their attitudes about talking with you.

Erin: You know how uncomfortable it makes YOU to talk about alcohol? Just add a level of angst, some middle school melodrama and a dash of surly teen grumpiness to the mix and you know what you have?

Ellen: A recipe for conversational catastrophe.

Erin: It’s enough to make you say: So why talk at all? Especially about alcohol? EVER?

Rise Above the Adolescent Grumpiness. #TalkEarly

Ellen: You talk because of this: Parents  hugely influence their kids’ ideas. Your kids will listen to you.

Erin: Really own that. Make these words your daily affirmation through the adolescent years: “I am powerfully influential and they will listen to me.”

Ellen: Now that you are properly affirmed, you can’t make assumptions that they know underage drinking is bad. You have to tell them. Kids underestimate the power of alcohol. This coupled with their sense of invulnerability can be a dangerous situation.

Erin: One last pep talk. You are fierce and motivated by love, so here are some talking points to help you out when you DO have the space for the conversation.

What They Need to Know From You

1. Drinking can be fatal. Even the very first time. Low body weight and developing brains make it an even riskier proposition.

2. Alcohol inhibits your decision-making. Drinking opens you up to experimentation with more dangerous things like drugs and sex.  It increases your chances of being a victim or a perpetrator. You lose control.

3. Leads to regretful behavior and embarrassment.  That picture of you with your head in the toilet will live on the internet forever.

4. Hurts school and sports performances. Dreams are big at this age. Bright futures are so close and yet so far away. Alcohol can stand in the way of those shiny somedays.

5. Trouble with the law. Underage drinking is illegal. Drinking and driving is not only deadly, it is against the law. And just think about it, going around smashing mailboxes only sounds hilarious when you are smashed yourself. Gets back to decision-making.

6. Not a healthy way to handle stress or uplift mood. Alcohol has never solved a problem but it excels at making things worse. Think gasoline on a fire.

Erin: Feeling a little verklempt? Ready for that paper bag to breathe into?

Ellen: It’s a lot, but remember it doesn’t all have to be covered at once. That’s why you practice creating the space for conversations and you spiral back around on topics as you have the opportunity.

Erin: Granted, these conversations aren’t the easiest, but they are the most important.

FINAL_It-Takes-Two-TALKEARLY

This post is sponsored by The Century Council as part of our partnership with them exploring how to #TalkEarly with our kids.

You can follow #TalkEarly on Twitter and The Century Council Website.

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Follow #TalkEarly on Pinterest to find healthy recipes, exercise tips for kids, tips on parenting adolescents, and for homework help.

 

 

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By Ellen Williams Erin Dymowski

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13 Responses to “#TalkEarly: Rise Above the Teen and Tween Grumpiness”

  1. Frugalistablog
    September 25, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    We are very candid with our alcohol discussions. The children see us drinking an occasional beer or wine and know that we can since we’re adults. I never did underage drinking, I’m so boring, I know. Maybe it was because my parents were open about alcohol and I didn’t feel like alcohol was this mystery I needed to discover on my own.

    I was surprised to learn how many of my peers drank in high school. I just never felt the need. Let’s hope and pray my kids feel the same! But yes- talking, talking, talking!
    Frugalistablog recently posted..Here I go again.. saving you money.My Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      September 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Frugie,
      You are a queen and a wonderful example of how to communicate with your kids.

      Thank you for sharing how you were raised around alcohol. Future posts will touch on modeling responsible behavior.

      Ellen

  2. Southern Angel
    September 25, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    We have had the talk, over and over.. Sadly it was least listened to by my oldest who had already found mental issues that made refraining harder. He wanted to be normal and fit in and alcohol and drugs made that likely for him. It took nearly 2 years for me to put in tough love, realize that I could not save him from the demons and tell him he would either abide by our rules and seek help or he would leave. He chose to leave. Thinking all of his party buddies would ‘help him out’ with a place to stay. It took a week of sleeping on the street to realize his party buddies were only interested when he had money or something else they wanted. I swore to never be that blind and hell bent on being the answer again.
    Southern Angel recently posted..Daughter sells father BACK his home after attempting to evict him…My Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      September 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

      Thank you for sharing this important story. Truly. Ellen

  3. Jessica @scienceofparenthood.com
    September 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    The surprisingly tricky question I’ve gotten from my 9yo after talking about alcoholism and liver damage all the bad stuff was “so why do people drink?”

    Ummmmmm……
    Jessica @scienceofparenthood.com recently posted..Shared Infomation ParadoxMy Profile

  4. Kathy Radigan
    September 26, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    Love this post! I have a 14 year old as well as an 11 and 8 year old and we have always been really open about our feelings about drinking and bring up all the points you state.

    I find among a lot of parents that I know that there is a mixed signal that is sent out to kids. Whenever I mention underage drinking I’m so surprised that so many parents say they don’t want their kids to drink in their teens but they know they will. This response drives me batty!!!

    Thanks for bringing up a subject that I feel very strongly about!
    Kathy Radigan recently posted..The Joy of BakingMy Profile

  5. Katie E
    September 27, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Very important topic! We have discussed with my children many times because my husband’s an alcoholic (now sober) and we’ve had to explain to them. And we will continue to explain through the teenage years.
    Katie E recently posted..Pinterest PastabilitiesMy Profile

  6. Lance
    September 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    I love this. Your kids are great.

    I’ve interviewed my 17-year-old on video about her idolatry of Taylor Swift.

    I’ve found that making her sit down, having her put her phone away and being candid and honest works. We’ve been having these kinds of talks with her for years.

    terrific post. You two are wonderful mothers
    Lance recently posted..100 Word Song – LovebuzzMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      September 30, 2013 at 8:46 am #

      Wow, I’m so glad I had such a crazy weekend that I did not see this until now. THIS is the boost I needed on THIS Monday morning. Thank you! I missed the Taylor Swift video. Want to post the link?

      Ellen

  7. Hollow tree Ventures
    September 28, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Definitely having the talk early with my younger ones. We learned with the older ones that just assuming they understand the open door policy with kids isn’t enough to prevent coming home unexpectedly to a legged in full swing. You have to actually *say the words*!
    Hollow tree Ventures recently posted..Nothing personal Lifetouch, but I still hate youMy Profile

    • The Sisterhood
      September 30, 2013 at 8:48 am #

      Isn’t it weird what you actually get when you ask them questions? You think they know the rules and sometimes you think they understand because it is implied, but sometimes they just don’t. Discussions really are just as easy as asking a question or saying the words. Ellen

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    [...] have told you why to talk early to your children about alcohol. (Mini-recap: YOU are huge influence for your kids and the younger they are, the more [...]

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