Guest blog by Laura Dean-Mooney, National President, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
As a working mom, I know how hard it can be to make time for all of the things you want to do in a day. At MADD, we hope you can make time for one potentially lifesaving conversation
This Thursday, April 21st, is PowerTalk 21™, the national day for parents to start talking with their kids about alcohol.
We found, in looking at research and talking to parents, that a lot of parents wanted to talk with their children about alcohol, but didn’t know where to start. Or how to answer tough questions. Or how to set consequences without seeming threatening.
So we created Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence by MADD, which includes a parent handbook written for real parents and based on research by Dr. Robert Turrisi. This research shows that a parent who reads the handbook and speaks with their children about alcohol reduces their children’s risk of drinking significantly.
You can download the handbook free of charge here
Here are seven tips for getting through to your teen from that handbook:
- Communicate before a problem starts. It’s very hard to have important discussions after a problem has already occurred, when there can be blaming, anger or punishments. Instead, if you can agree on a time to start talking before problems start, you can eliminate some of the emotional charge from the discussion.
- Discuss rules and consequences. It’s important that your teen know how you want them to act and why. If you tell your teen plainly that you don’t want them to drink, they are less likely to do so. Also, teens who have agreed to, and know the consequences of drinking, are less likely to drink. So agree with your teen on consequences.
- Show you care. You know that you aren’t having this conversation or setting consequences just to be an ogre – it’s important your teen know that as well. Sometimes, gently touching your teen on the arm or back can show affection and attention. Additionally, you can tell your teen you love them and want them to be safe. If you explain that’s why you need to talk about the dangers of underage drinking, the conversation can start from a basis of love and respect.
- Pay attention. Life definitely gets hectic sometimes, but it’s important that you take time out to listen to your teen. Also, because many teens aren’t particularly open about all of their thoughts, emotions and activities, it’s also vital to know where your teen is and what they are doing.
- Share family activities. One tip is to eat dinner together as often as possible. Game nights or other family activities help create or sustain common family bonds.
- Give and get respect. When your teen talks to you, listen and reply respectfully – usually they are talking about something that is very important to them. On the other hand, you should also insist that your teen treats you with that same respect.
- Enforce consequences consistently. Hopefully, you don’t have to do this. But if you’ve set consequences with your teen and your teen breaks the rules, those consequences need to be enforced calmly.
We hope these tips help you with this important conversation. In addition to the free handbook , you can also attend one of our free half-hour workshops that can help you with how to talk with your teens.
We believe in PowerTalk 21 so much that we chose to launch MADD’s refreshed brand in connection with it as a great example of the new programs we’re developing in support of our mission. We hope it’s helpful.
Editor's Note: Mom Corps is proud to be a sponsor of MADD's PowerTalk 21 Initiative.
It’s the holy grail for working moms—finding and maintaining a happy balancing act between family and career. The media certainly sees the issue as newsworthy, and delivers lots of information and personal stories on this topic. Many companies have begun addressing these employee challenges by introducing flexible work elements, including reduced hours, telecommuting options and family-friendly policies. But when it comes down to reality, there seems to be no simple formula that applies to all people or workplace situations.
The Wall Street Journal’s life-balance column, “The Juggle”, recently gave some honest advice on this meaningful topic. According to columnist Rachel Emma Silverman, employees shouldn’t wait for their employers to instill a culture of work-life balance. Instead, if you want more time for other pursuits, like family, friends or exercise, you need to take matters into your own hands and set your own life-friendly practices.
Here are three realistic tips to help you and other working parents find that happy medium.
- Separate personal life from work life. Making a clear distinction between your role as mother/friend/daughter and employee will make you more productive during defined work hours and ultimately allow you to be more engaged with your friends and family. For example, politely discourage your mother from calling you about the family reunion during the workday. Offer to call her on your drive to pick the kids up from school. Keep a separate account for personal emails so you don’t get distracted from your proposal deadline by the stream of comments on this week’s soccer tournament.
- Unplug and Engage. In this day and age we tend to make ourselves too available. Set clear boundaries and expectations with your co-workers about your after-hours availability. Become present for your friends and family by leaving the phone and laptop out of reach. If working after hours is a necessity, reboot after the kids are in bed or early in the morning before the household starts humming.
- Find 15 or more “me-minutes” daily. Most of us are over-scheduled and over-extended, so capturing a little down time may seem luxurious or even impossible! But treating yourself to as little as 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted time to pursue hobbies, interest or even just quiet meditation will make a positive difference in your emotional well-being. As one Charlotte mom wrote to us recently, “I arrive 30 minutes early to carpool every day and treat myself to a good book, talk radio or chatting with family or friends by phone. When my daughters get out of school , I am then ready to give them my full attention.”
Regardless of your workplace policies and personal situation, it is important that you find your own path to work-life happiness. What ideas can Mom Corps readers offer on this topic? Will you share your personal secrets for balancing work and family life?
Name: Jill Boyette
City/State: Charlotte, NC
Family : 12 year old twin girls
Education: BS in Finance and BS in Information Systems Management, both from Florida State University
Summary of professional experience : I started my career as a consultant with Arthur Andersen in their Business Consulting unit in 1997. My twins were born early in my career and I was always very pleased with our decision to be a two working parent family. My girls were very happy and well taken care of at a wonderful child care facility very close to work and home. After Arthur Andersen, I moved to Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated where I spent over five years as a Manager and then Director in Supply Chain Integration.
Why you turned to Mom Corps? As my girls have gotten older, balancing two full-time careers and an active family had become increasingly difficult. After leaving Coke, it was time to search for the "holy grail" of work-life balance. During the next two years I spent time as a stay at home mom twice and worked from home as a contract employee on two major projects for a large financial institution. I thought contracting was the answer because I could stay current on my skills by working fulltime but when the project was over I could take a couple months off before starting another contract. Unfortunately, the long hours of the stressful corporate projects continued and my kids' schedule just got busier and busier. It was my interaction with Mom Corps that finally provided the balance our family needed. About two years ago, Mom Corps introduced me to The Daniel Group, a research and strategy firm focused on customer service and retention in the business-to-business market.
How was your experience with Mom Corps? Working with Mom Corps was refreshing because I didn't have to hide the fact that flexibility and my family were priorities - it's a given. The companies that choose to work with Mom Corps appreciate the professional skills and understand that Mom Corps candidates are highly motivated to make a flexible or part-time arrangement work for everyone involved.
What type of position did Mom Corps place you in? Mom Corps placed me at The Daniel Group on a part time basis to analyze client satisfaction data and provide research and recommendations for improving client service delivery. After a year with Mom Corps, The Daniel Group converted me to a direct employee of The Daniel Group. Depending on the company's needs and my availability, I work 20 - 30 hours a week, with the ability to balance that time between the office and home. This is a great option for me, because recently I've begun home-schooling my teenaged daughters, and I need flexibility more than ever! Mom Corps did a great job of matching my professional experience and flexibility needs with a progressive employer like The Daniel Group.
How has finding a flexible job through Mom Corps affected/improved your overall work/life balance and your professional and/or family life? I feel strongly that my children need more of my time now than they ever did when they were younger. Everyone is different, but staying at home with babies or young children was never something that appealed to me. But it's extremely important now. It's a juggling act everyday to balance homework, very active extracurricular schedules and just the need to stay connected with my girls' pre-teen lives. Scaling back to a part time work schedule has been the right answer for our family.
What is your go-to stress reliever? Other than a good bubble bath on occasion, I have a built in 30 minutes of time every weekday while I wait in the carpool line at my girls' middle school. I pull into the line by 3:10 or 3:15 every day so I can be at the front of the line to get my girls to ballet or Tae Kwon Do on time. This is my time to do with as a want. Some days I pay bills over the phone, some days I read a book or magazine and some days I just recline my seat, close my eyes and listen to the radio. And then comes the real treat... a captive audience of two girls in the backseat eager to tell me about their day.
Would you recommend Mom Corps to other professional women looking for flexible options? Mom Corps and The Daniel Group have given me the ability to maintain an active career, hone and even improve my skills in a small business environment that is in many ways more dynamic and certainly more flexible than a large corporation, all while being a happier, more engaged mom. Thanks, Mom Corps!