Talking With My 6-year Old About Alcohol Responsibility
“Riley, do you remember when we talked about drinking beer and wine? Can kids drink it?”
“Noooo. Kids can’t drink beer.”
“Do you remember why?”
“Because it makes them feel weeeeeird. And it’s not good for their bodies and it’s against the law.”
“That’s right. All of those reasons are right. Do you think it makes grown-ups feel weird too?”
“It can! But not if grown-ups are safe about it.”
“Right. If grown-ups drink too much beer or drink it too fast, then it will make them feel super weird.”
“Yeah. So they like have to take one sip at a time and not be like drinking the whole thing super fast. That would be so bad.”
“Right. Drinking it slowly and not drinking too much are part of being responsible. Do you know what responsible means?”
“YES! It’s like how I have to hang up my own backpack on the hook at school because it’s my responsibility and if I don’t it could get lost!”
“Yes. We are responsible for our things, like jackets and backpacks, and have to take good care of them, but we are also responsible for our bodies and need to take good care of ourselves too!”
“Yeah, like at camp when I was singing to myself and my friend said it was annoying, and I was like it’s not your responsibility!”
“Kind of like that.”
“Can teenagers drink beer?”
“No. It’s illegal. But they sometimes want to.”
“Yeah. Because teenagers think they’re so big.”
“They do. But their bodies aren’t quite ready for alcohol and teenagers are really still kids and might have trouble with making good choices about drinking too much or drinking too fast.”
“Yeah. When I’m a teenager, I think I’m going to be taller than Mimi. But I’m not going to drink beer.”
“I think that’s a great choice and you are getting very tall.”
April is Alcohol Responsibility Month so we’ve been having these conversations more frequently than usual. Because the best time to start talking with little kids is right now. And we just really like talking.
Me: Know why kids can’t have beer? 5yo: It’s not good for little bodies. But coffee makes you RUN REALLY FAST. Oh dear. #TalkEarly
— Casey Carey-Brown (@lifewithRoozle) March 27, 2015
When you’re almost six, those conversations sometimes take strange turns, as most conversations with 6-year-olds do. But we keep talking.
When I drink a beer or buy beer on our way home, we talk about it. I don’t just tell her that she can’t have it if she asks, because she hasn’t ever asked. I bring it up first. We talk about how our bodies are made. How adults process alcohol different than kids. How men process alcohol different than women. She fights that idea pretty hard, as she’s all in for the idea of not separating boys and girls. But still, we talk.
We talk about how alcohol makes you feel and why some people choose not to drink at all, like her other mom who chooses not to drink at all. We talk about responsibility and how that can look different for different people. We talk about drinking and driving and why it’s not okay, what alcohol does to bodies to make it drunk driving unsafe.
Right now, while she’s still little, she wants the facts. She wants to learn. So we talk. The lifetime conversation about alcohol responsibility starts now.
Have you talked to your kids about alcohol responsibility? Right now is a great time to start. Visit responsibility.org for to conversation starters, tips, facts, and all the good stuff to help you get started.
This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. I am working with them as a #TalkEarly blogger this year to help them “Empower parents to be confident about their own decisions regarding alcohol, model healthy, balanced behaviors, and create a foundation for starting conversations with their kids from an early age.” Let’s all do that. Because that totally rules.