The Century Council is currently participating in the Governors Highway Safety Association's Annual Meeting in Savannah, Georgia.
Another end of summer, another start of the school year. What better time than now to start your teen off with some thoughtful advice about underage drinking.
A problem with giving advice as to why underage drinking is not good is that there never does seem to be the right time to do it. So, frequently that discussion never happens. So how about doing it now. Beginning of the school year. Off to a good start. Pry them away from their computer, cell phone, iPod, iPhone, whatever. Don't wait for a good time, because it may never come.
"Jennifer, I want to talk to you about drinking. This will not take a long time."
"Mom, must we? This is so inconvenient."
It's never convenient for them.
"Yes, we're going to talk about drinking."
"I'm really busy now. Besides, you know I don't drink."
One strong reason for talking to your teen about drinking is that you can't know for sure that they are not drinking, or are not going to drink. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the first use of alcohol typically begins around age twelve, and half of 13-15 year olds say they will be faced with making a decision regarding alcohol in the next three months.
How to fill that awkward silence: 'I love you.' Your teen will hate it - and love it
Tonia is lying on the couch watching television. Her mother comes into the room to look for a pencil, finds one next to the magazines and leaves.
Adam is in his room with the door closed. His parents are both home. Over the course of the next three hours, there are no verbal exchanges between them.
Morgan's dad drops her off at soccer practice. She mumbles "Bye," as she darts out of the car.
Lance, on the way to his room, passes his father in the hallway. No words are spoken between the two.
Once they hit their teens - as part of the normal temporary allergy to parents - a child's end of conversations can all but dry up. It becomes very easy to go through days with virtually no communication, apart from day-to-day business.
"Ryan, don't forget you said you'd take out the recycling."
Days at a time - maybe even more than days - can go by with no real loving contact between a parent and a teen. Even if your relationship is mostly harmonious, there may still not be a whole lot positive happening.
This is not good.
Let me suggest another way. Let's try the above scenes a little differently.
Keep your misery to yourself. Children deserve parents who shield them from the full force of adult suffering
Aidan was supposed to tidy up the house after school. But when his mother got home from a long day at work, she found her son sprawled on the couch, watching TV and eating tortilla chips while the place was still a disaster zone, the floor covered with crumbs and driblets of yellow gooey stuff that might be cheese spread. She lost it.
“Aidan, you were supposed to pick up the house, but all you've done is made a bigger mess.”
“What? Why are you yelling at me?”
“I can't believe you. Look at this room. You don't give a crap about this house or anything I say. Do you understand what this does to me? You don't understand at all how much I sacrifice for you. I get no help from you or your stupid father. I'm under pressure all the time at a job I hate. I constantly have to worry about money. I don't have time for anything. What kind of life do I have? And I come home to this? It's so unfair.”
How much of your own personal suffering is it appropriate to share with your teenager?
Over the past several years The Century Council has partnered with many professional athletes to encourage youth to live a healthy and active lifestyle and not consume alcohol underage....