One of the many things about me that drives Hubby nuts is that I am constantly playing devil’s advocate on things – I am a lawyer after all – or living in the grey (how excited was I when I found that website?), while he, on the other hand, sees everything in black and white. That’s both a blessing and a curse (for me) in that it takes him absolutely no time to make a decision, but it also means that there’s no room for negotiation or changing his mind. If you were a fly on the wall in our kitchen, you could often hear me saying:
Everything Isn’t Black or White!
Except when you’re 10 years old. As my oldest daughter approaches the tween years, I’m learning that Right or Wrong is crystal clear to her and that the defined lines are comforting. Whether it’s a discussion about Heaven or Hell (and we’ve had that discussion) or curse words, she’s very adamant about whether something is Good or Bad. Of course, in those discussions, in the back of my mind I know that there is most certainly a gray area, unanswered questions and no perfect answer, but keeping it simple and clear cut is what helps to shape her moral compass as she enters her teenage years.
To kick off Alcohol Awareness Month, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (formerly The Century Council), co-hosted a Twitter chat with Scholastic’s Parent & Child Magazine, and featuring special guest Dr. Michele Borba. As one of FAAR’s #TalkEarly parenting bloggers, I participated in the chat about best practices (see? attorney!) for speaking with your child about alcohol. The message came across loud and clear: the earlier you start having these conversations with your child, the better. And there are so many reasons for that! Here are some key excerpts from the conversation:
Beliefs About Alcohol Are Formed At An Early Age
Here Is Where It Pays to Be ‘Black and White’
Calibrate Their Moral Compass Now
When it comes to my daughter, health is key. She’s always been a little bit of a health nut – when she was 2 she was ‘vegetarian’ for a while; she’ll always choose a fruit or carrots over chips or cookies; and she is obsessed with building a strong body right now through track and field. So, the other day when she referenced ‘beer’ while writing a poem for school, I took that as an opportunity to have a conversation about alcohol while relating it to something that she truly cares about. We talked about how alcohol affects your body and can impair how it functions; that was all she needed to hear. In her Black and White frame of mind, drinking alcohol is a no-no. And while I’m no fool and realize that we’ll need to revisit this discussion many, many times as the years go by and the line between Good and Bad blurs, I’m thankful for this Age of Absolutes that we’re in right now.
Soon enough she’ll be living in the grey, like her Mama.
This post is one of a series sponsored by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s #TalkEarly program. There were so many more important tips shared in the Twitter chat – you can see the key ones here.