Here is an example of how you might handle this question:

“I did have a drink when I was younger. However, we did not know as much as we know now about the risks of alcohol. If I had known then, I would have done things differently. This is why I am talking to you about it. I want you to be safe, healthy, and happy.”

Your son or daughter will probably ask if you ever drank when you were young. This may create a dilemma for parents. If you drank and say “no,” you are being dishonest. If you say “yes,” your child will think you are hypocritical to expect different behavior from them. Honesty is important and you should not lie to your child. Parents use different approaches to answer this question: Making the topic off limits. Some parents establish a “ground rule” at the start of their discussion: they will talk about everything else, but will not answer questions about their own use of drugs or alcohol when they were young. The parent believes that their own behavior as a youth is not relevant to the child’s current use of alcohol. This strategy works in some families, but not in others. Kids usually become convinced that their parents are hiding something and resent that their parents won’t talk about it. Admitting mistakes and emphasizing negative outcomes. Other parents admit they drank, but focus on how it was a mistake. They use their own experience to discuss negative outcomes, such as how drinking led to an embarrassing moment or dangerous situation. They stress that because the parent behaved foolishly and was lucky enough to escape serious consequences does not mean that the child will have the same outcome


The following strategies will help you communicate most effectively: Listen . Allow your child to speak without interruption. Listen to what he or she says. Sometimes it is good to paraphrase. “Let me see if I understand you. It sounds like you feel that…” With paraphrasing, you don’t agree or disagree, you interpret. Speak with respect and appreciation. Your child still values your approval. Whenever you can, express your respect and admiration (for example, “I admire what you have done and how you are coping”). Everyone wants to be respected and is more willing to talk to people who respect them. Tell your son or daughter you are proud of them for being able to handle tough situations


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