“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” – Anne Frank
On Sunday March 6, 2016, I made a promise to my 13-year-old that I will not drink liquor or beer, ever again. Champagne is acceptable, though. I pondered that promise and I added that she in turn must promise to never drink until she has reached the legal age of 21, if she so desires.
I am happy that this happened. I have been contemplating not drinking and I guess, I needed help to step in my truth.
I write this post for 2 reasons:
- I want to be able to look back on this someday. I know that this will make me smile with my heart.
- To encourage other parents to have a conversation with their teenage children about underage drinking.
With all the working and all the stress that life brings families I just think we may not make the time to have conversations in which we check in often enough. We have to though. We have to encourage and remind each other that our children are the future. We need to take proactive steps to help them by giving them tools to deal with stress and drinking isn’t one. We have to teach them ways to cope with anger and disappointment. How to stand up for themselves and make decisions that don’t involve drug use.
When I was a teen I did drink, not everyday, but enough. I thought it was cool until I thought drinking isn’t so bad, what else did my Mom say not to do that maybe I can? Thank God, I had real life lessons about the dangers of drugs use, having lost countless family members and friends as a result of addiction, incarceration, and death. Not a darn good thing comes from drug use, from my experience.
Even with that being said, my children wouldn’t know that. They don’t have real life experiences to pull from or the pain of a broken heart that constantly reminds them in their youth that drugs and drinking is not an erasure.
How did I bring up this conversation up? By pulling from something I believed she could relate to. We were cleaning up and I am a sage burner, so I said have you ever smoked? She looked at me, “NO!”
I said, “When I was younger I use to make paper cigarette’s and put baby power in them!”
We both burst out laughing.
“I use to tell your Auntie to call me Sheila, because I thought the name Sheila was a grown up name!”
We burst into laughter again.
Zy said, “Sheila!”
In my most sexist woman voice, “Sh-h-heila.”
“Oh my god, stop it!” She continued, “Me and Ree-Ree use to make paper cigarette’s when I would spend the night over her house.”
“And I thought I was the only one. So have you smoked a real cigarette?”
“No, why would I do that if I tell you I don’t like people who smoke?”
“You’re right.” I smiled and thought it’s something about the innocence of a child that makes my heart jump for joy. And so began that conversation starter.