The younger kids being away with my in-laws this week, it was only Thing One and me in the car on the way to the last day of his golf camp this morning. As it happened, the commercial playing on the radio as I flipped it on midway down the driveway was advertising a semi-local casino.
Thing One asked me what a casino was. While trying to explain it to him, I somehow got on the subject of addiction and bad decision making (with respect to gambling,) which then led into the subject of decision making relating to alcohol. Sweet and naive as he is, he currently assumes that he will not drink until he's 21 because that is the legal age, and was very surprised when I told him that he will certainly have to make decisions about drinking in college, if not in high school. I also said that our discussion was only the first of many that we'll likely have on the subject as he gets older, and that he really doesn't need to worry about it right now.
Frankly, my biggest alcohol-related concerns (for all of my children, not just him) relate to decisions they make about driving and sex, but since he has no idea what sex is yet, I couldn't really go there. That will come sometime after the birds-and-bees talk. For now, we focused on the driving-while-impaired side of it. Again, the kid just turned 10, so I have some time. It just seemed like an opportunity that could be seized to introduce a difficult topic (several of them, actually) at an age-appropriate level. And fortunately, he didn't seem bothered by it at all. Knowing the kid, I expect him to go off and process the conversation for a few days and then come back with questions out of the blue...that has always been his MO. The hatches will be battened in readiness for a while, and I will give Himself a heads-up as well.
I've always found that some of the more difficult conversations are easier to have when you aren't looking at each other, and he's still too young to sit in the passenger seat at the moment. I grumble on occasion about being the family chauffeur with all the driving to activities, but this morning reminded me that the car (especially when I have only one child in it with me) will be a good place to talk to my kids about the important things. A definite silver lining!