The Talk….

The Talk

by Matthew Hite

Amarillo, Texas


Parents, if you have not had the “talk” with your child(ern) its time.  NO not that talk.. The Talk about drinking.  Most children between the ages of 9 and 15 have access or friends that have access to drinks.  Does your child know?  Has your child experimented with drinking already?  Many parents turn the other cheek or pretend it’s not going on with “their kids.”  Don’t fool yourself… Have the talk….

Communicating with teens can be difficult.  It is important to lay a good foundation with your child before they hit the teen years…. and NOT JUST ABOUT DRINKING EITHER….  Your child will be exposed to the outside world, prepare them for it and talk to them before they are put into a situation about it.

Please remember that threats and lectures rarely prevent anything and are usually reactionary in nature.  Be proactive, talk with them and not too them.  Citing laws, rules and regulations will not stop most children.  They need to know these things but that in itself will NOT stop them.  One of the most valuable things you can share as a family is time where you speak openly and honestly with one another.  Maybe at dinner or just before bedtime,  find a time to talk with your kids and to become part of there life or they may not turn to you later when they are encouraged to experiment with things.

Talk to your children about your past drinking and share stories about it.  Be factual and let them know a few things that could happen to them if they do drink.  You need rules that are spelled out clearly.  Share your personal opinions, beliefs and thoughts about drinking and then clearly layout ground rules about drinking.  Work with your child and help them feel good about themselves.  Self esteem is vital so that they can say NO to those that admire later when and if approached.  Be a good parent and work on building a positive family environment so that your kiddo will be willing to talk with you.  Also be a good role model and practice what you preach.  Lastly know where you child is going, when they will be home and who they are will and follow up to make sure they are where they are suppose to be.

It’s a lot of work being a parent and I hope this will help you remember that YOU make a difference in your child’s life and that these tips can be applied to any topic; NOT JUST DRINKING!

Family values have NEVER been so important.  Kids today face a different world than their parents.  Family life is different, family structure is different but YOU can’t use this as an excuse.  Parents and children are spending less and less time together everywhere because of technology, social media, TV, video games and parent’s busy personal life.  YOU have to make TIME!   .

Yes the talk…. every talk…. every day… be a positive influence to your child, don’t just talk, listen!



Words from a parent…. a volunteer… and a family member of the AAYC

My name is Jen, but some people call me the “Snake Lady”.  I have been a volunteer at the AAYC for the haunt since about August 2011.  I never gave much thought to working in a haunted house before because of my social anxiety, but when I volunteered my snakes, I was asked to work.  I could not say no to the people I had known for over 20 years and I thought it might be good for some issues of my own.  I never dreamed it would be helpful to myself and that I would be helping others.  When I first started doing this, I did not know I was going to be working with kids, let alone kids that might need or benefit from responsible adult support.  I was not exactly sure of what I had just gotten myself into.  After that first year, I decided I was hooked and that I have loved every minute of getting to be in this AAYC family, because that it what it is like….a big family.  There are arguments and rough patches but the main thing is that everyone works as a team and supports each other, kids and adults alike.

It is a blast working with the kids at the AAYC haunt, year after year it is never the same.  It is fun scaring people with the snakes but it is also a lot of fun getting scared by the kids.  They know how to get you!  I really enjoy watching these kids come out of their shell and get out there and scare the heck out of people.  You can tell the kids enjoy it.  I also enjoy getting the chance to teach the kids about the snakes and how to handle them.  The kids absolutely love getting to handle them.

I really like helping the kids at the AAYC and being a mentor to them.  I can be their friend but I am a parent figure too.  I have kids of my own so I think that may give me a bit of an added advantage.  I can relate to them or just give them a friendly, understanding ear to listen to them.  This gives them things they may not have otherwise.  Volunteering at the AAYC has been a great experience.  I would like to think that I have helped at least one or two kids if not more to be better people and to see that even when everything gets them down, they can rise up and succeed.

Out of the kids that come to the AAYC for the haunt each year, some are new faces but a lot of them are the ones who come back from year to year.  Of course, those are the kids you can actually see the positive changes and the growth.  This makes it worthwhile too.  The kids come there to the AAYC to have safe fun and a meal and to hang out instead of being out on the street getting into trouble.  Being a parent volunteer at the AAYC sets a good example for the kids there as well as for my own kids.  My own kids also come to the AAYC at times.  I have been asked why I volunteer at the AAYC or why I work for “free”, or why I would be part of this group.  I tell them it is because I like dressing up, I like getting to be silly, I love having fun and because I might just make a difference in someone’s life.