I make and have made so many mistakes with my own children that I probably do a disservice to myself to open a piece of writing with that because how are you going to take my word for it that I was, in actuality, a darn good mom. Except, that's my superpower right there: making mistakes and moving forward anyway. I wasn't big on reading parenting books when my children were younger and I had a far crunchier-granola approach to parenting. Even while a student in school I learned best when I made mistakes.
That is a tradition that continues today.
Learning lessons and making mistakes is different for every child and the ones I raised all learned so differently from one another that I became, inadvertantly, very accustomed to allowing my kids to make them within some safe boundaries.
You don't want to get up in time to eat breakfast before school? Okay, then.
Staying up until midnight to finish your chores is how you want to play this? No time limit then.
You want to go to a party where there's a possibility of alcohol? I'm out of money for the weekend so bail is not an option. If you get in trouble, you're on your own.
Turning in that essay without looking over the errors I pointed out? Fine. Take the grade that comes with it.
Oftentimes planning to have a tough conversation with your teens, especially your teens, is harder than the actual conversation. So when the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility asked me personally how I talked to my daughters and sons about underage drinking, a million thoughts raced through my minds.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility asked me for my best advice on this subject in the hopes that it will inspire you to start your own conversation with your kids. Here's why I agreed to be filmed for this: you, the parent, are the leading influence on your kid’s decision to drink – or not drink – alcohol and to make good decisions and boundaries for your children.
Kids will make mistakes and there are safe ones to make about choices involving alcohol. For the record, when I told my children that I wouldn't be making excuses for them about partying with booze before they hit the legal age, they all chose wisely and steered clear of it.
It was the best advice I could give about them being personally responsible and I feel lucky that they made good choices about that. Sometimes, just starting the conversation is all the push parents need. I urge you to make that primary parenting practice.