Practice Scenario

Now that you have some background information about effective ways to communicate with children and young adults, you and your child are invited to go through the various scenarios presented below. These scenarios will help you better understand effective communication and allow you to practice your communication skills.

Child younger than 12-years-old

Scenario 1: Michael (age 8) is currently learning in school about how drinking alcohol may harm people’s health. While riding in the car with his Dad, they stop at a gas station, where Michael sees a young woman standing in front of the station drinking a beer. He comments on it to his Dad. How should Michael’s Dad react to this situation?

  • Option A: Dad says that the woman will soon get cancer and die because she is drinking, and that if Michael ever tries drinking he will also die of cancer. He adds that the woman is a bad person. Michael is confused because he is learning different information at school. He knows his Dad is exaggerating and doesn’t want to talk to him about drinking.

  • Option B: Dad ignores the woman’s behavior and quickly changes the subject.

  • Option C: Dad asks Michael what he thinks about the woman’s behavior. Michael repeats what he is learning at school; that you have to be an adult to drink or you could get in trouble with the law; drinking too much alcohol can cause blurry vision and slurred speech and even make it hard to think clearly. Dad agrees and says he doesn’t want Michael to start drinking because he is young, and doesn’t want him to get hurt.

What would you say and do?