Summer is here. The season of fun relaxation, gatherings, and .… partying.
I wasn’t a party kid. I never drank in high school, have to this day never smoked anything and always – and will forever be – a giant rule follower. It is at times physically painful for me to break rules and watch others break the rules.
Now I have children who are adult, teenage and pre-teen aged. Opportunities and temptations abound. While I hope my kids make safe and sound choices, I need to know what to look for. I need to educate them on what to look for so they can make smart, appropriate choices. The onus is on me to make them aware. I didn’t grow up around alcohol. As a legal adult I enjoy adult beverages in my home and when out. In the state where I live, I may legally allow my children to consume in my presence, however, I choose not to do so. My choice isn’t a judgment on others who make different choices, it’s just where I am right now in the journey.
I want my kids to understand what healthy and unhealthy relationships with alcohol look like. There needs to be an open communication route.
In conjunction with that route – we have a rule. The “24 HOUR RULE.”
Definition: 24 HOUR RULE; My kid can call me from anywhere, any time of day or night and I will pick him/her up with no questions. I will deliver other kids home into the care of their parents if they need to leave whatever situation in which they’ve found themselves. For 24 hours, we will not speak about the circumstances.
If my kid made a poor decision or simply finds him/herself in an unsafe situation, I want them to know I will ALWAYS come for them.
When we discuss, we’ll begin with a fact-based dialogue. Who, what, where, when, how. Who was there? What decisions were made? Where were you and were adults there? When did you decide to be a part of this circumstance and when did you decide to leave? How did your decisions impact the outcome of the day/night/weekend? How do you feel about what happened? How would you deal with things differently if possible or needed?
Next, what are we going to do? Is there any recourse? Is there a need for a consequence? If so, what does that look like?
Lastly, I want the focus to be on next time. What does next time look like? How do you deal, navigate, choose, and avoid situations and or people that put in you a position where you activate the “24 HOUR RULE?”
Having open and honest conversations is a starting point for us. If we can talk about the little things now, when the hard stuff arises, we’ll have a path to follow. We’ll communicate and get through anything together.
And that’s why we have the “24 HOUR RULE.”
photo credit: Photo by Pixabay