Three out of every four kids say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking and that’s why the Department of Revenue’s Liquor Control Division and the Interagency Coordinating Council on State Prevention Programs have partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to provide the Power of Parents program in Montana. Alcohol Education Coordinator Lisa Scates said the Power of Parents program looks to help parents begin an ongoing conversation with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking.

"One of the things in the guide is that it points out maybe what style of parent you are and it shows the consequences of different parenting styles to help you figure out if you've been talking to your child in one fashion, and it doesn't seem to be sinking in, that maybe you can try a different approach on how to do that," Scates said. "It also talks about the peer pressure issue and how to teach your teens to say 'No.' It's really a very good program."

Scates said the program is short and sweet and says conversations with your teen can even start at the dinner table.

"We have another thing called the 'Conversation Jar' and this helps parents initiate a conversation at dinner," Scates said. "There are all little things that you cut out and throw in a bowl. At dinner you sit down, pick out one of those and that's what you talk about. One of them might be what kind of foods you hated as a kid, but you love now. It's just little things to get your conversation started so everyone gets comfortable, then you can ease into other topics."

Scates said "education goes far beyond servers and alcohol retailers—it’s also about parents and people in the community."

To get involved, call Lisa at 406-444-4307.

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