When my daughter was heading into high school, we were discussing the topic of underage drinking. As I explained why she shouldn’t drink, I felt hypocritical because I have been a social drinker since college. I don’t drink heavily, but I’ll have a drink or two with friends, specifically with my brothers-in-law at family gatherings. To alleviate my guilt about this hypocrisy, I decided to make a deal with my daughter—neither of us would drink while she was in high school.
My daughter is now a high school senior, and as far as I know, we have both held up our ends of the bargain. When we made the deal, I had hoped it would help keep her out of trouble in high school and maybe help me be a little healthier. But I didn’t anticipate just how beneficial it would be. As it turns out, there are lots of benefits in setting a good example for your child. Here are 5 of them.
1. It demonstrated how to deal with peer pressure.
On many occasions, my daughter has been able to witness firsthand my brothers-in-law teasing me about not drinking with them. At first, I tried to discourage this, but then I realized it was a great way for me to demonstrate how easy it can be to say no. They choose to have a couple beers and I choose not to. They choose to give me a hard time and I choose not to let it bother me. We still hang out, watch the game, and enjoy being around each other, regardless of my choice not to drink.
2. It modeled self-discipline.
This has been a four-year commitment that I have chosen to make. That’s a pretty long time to stick to something on a voluntary basis. During this time, my kids have seen that it’s possible to stick with lifestyle-changing choices. Hopefully, this will help my kids to be disciplined in other areas of their lives.
3. It provided an excuse.
If pressured to drink, my daughter can use me and our deal as her excuse to turn it down. All she has to say is, “If my dad found out that I broke our deal after he has committed to it for years, he would be so angry. I just can’t risk it.” Deflecting the pressure from my daughter to me can be an easy out in many uncomfortable situations that might catch her off guard.
4. It demonstrated sacrifice.
Talk is cheap. It’s easy for us to tell our kids what they should do. Because of this deal, my daughter, as well as my other two kids, have seen that I am willing to make a sacrifice to help keep them from making poor decisions.
5. It created a team concept.
Sports psychologists will tell you that having “group norms” is a key factor in team building. Deciding that “we” are not drinking alcohol has been a standard that has helped build a sense of team within our family. We are in this together, regardless of the pressure from outside forces.
Source: All Pro Dad here