A Parent's Guide on Talking to Your College-Bound Student about Drinking
A Time of Transition
Congratulations! You have reached a new phase in parenting - the transition to college for your son or daughter. During the past several years, you have helped your teen build a strong foundation for good decision-making and self-sufficiency. So, how do you handle this phase of letting-go and help prepare your teen as he as she moves on to college life? This new role for you as a parent involves continuing the dialog with your student about life, responsibility, and healthy decision-making.
Students who choose to attend college will find the experience one that will provide fond memories and lasting friendships. During the college years, your son or daughter will grow socially and intellectually as they set personal and professional goals. However, it is important to know that things have changed on college campuses over the years - today's college students are making healthier decisions than their parents did.
Making Healthy Choices
Most college students drink moderately, if at all. In fact, many national studies report that college drinking is at record low levels. While some have been quick to report extreme behaviors of college students, the truth is, these behaviors are rare. The best kept secret regarding college students and drinking is that very few cause significant harm to themselves or others. Sharing and discussing these "true norms" with your son or daughter will help prepare your student to continue making healthy choices during the college years.
Six Communication Guidelines
- Continue the Dialog
Continue to discuss drinking with your student so he or she can continue to make smart choices at college.
- Create Shared Expectations
Set goals for your student's performance, both academically and socially. There should also be consequences if goals are not met.
- Know and Respect the Law
Understand the penalties for underage and/or abusive drinking and share then with your student.
- Focus on "True Norms"
Let your student know that the majority of college students do not abuse alcohol. Moderate or infrequent drinking is the "true norm."
- Share the Facts
Students already understand the effects of alcohol. Share with them responsible drinking tips they can use when they are of legal age. Also share ways they can help their friends who may be abusing alcohol.
- Take Advantage of Campus Resources
Encourage your student to take advantage of the various services and resources their college or university offers, especially if you suspect they or their friends are abusing alcohol.