When our kids are very small, we teach them about right and wrong and looking both ways before crossing the street – but as they get older, we need to broach more difficult subjects, such as underage drinking.

Recently The Motherhood worked with The Century Council and Dr. Anthony E. Wolf, a child psychologist and best-selling author, to host a blog program and Twitter party to help kick-start an online conversation about underage drinking and how we can address this tough topic with our kids.

The facts that The Century Council shared about underage drinking were eye opening, to say the least. One example:

According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the rate of current alcohol consumption increases with increasing age, from 2% at age 12 to 21% at age 16, and 55% at age 20.

As parents, we can’t shield our kids from some of the things that go along with growing up, like feeling the need to fit in at school or being pressured to drink alcohol at a party.

We can, however, prepare them for these situations and give them guidance that can help them make the right decisions. The hard part is knowing when and how to approach the subject so that it becomes a healthy conversation – and not another one of “mom’s lectures.”

Here are some fantastic tips and ideas on how to talk to your kids about underage drinking from fellow moms and dads who have experienced it first hand:

1. Start talking to your kids early and keep it simple. 

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2. Don’t give up, and stay calm. Your kids are hearing you.

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3. Talk to your kids about underage drinking when and where they are comfortable.

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4. Teach your kids how to say ‘NO’ with confidence.

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5. Make sure your kids (and their friends) know that you are there for them no matter what. 

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To recap those tips:

1. Start talking to your kids early and keep it simple. 

2. Don’t give up, and stay calm. Your kids are hearing you.

3. Talk to your kids about underage drinking when and where they are comfortable (such as in the car, when you can chat without eye contact).

4. Teach your kids how to say ‘NO’ with confidence.

5. Make sure your kids (and their friends) know that you are there for them no matter what.

We would love your input! If you have any of your own experiences, tips or thoughts to share, leave us a comment.