There is a strong and convincing body of literature indicating that parents/caregivers are an important source of influence in their student’s lives. Having difficult, honest and straightforward conversations with your student before they head off to college and continuing these conversations throughout their collegiate careers can assist them in navigating difficult issues such as alcohol use.
Regular conversations demonstrate your continued concern about your student’s health and well-being and assists in reducing high-risk drinking. These conversations also make it easier to check for any early signs that alcohol is interfering with academic or personal success.
Tips for talking with your student:
- Look for opportunities to raise the topic naturally- in the car, during dinner or while you are watching TV.
- Ask open-ended questions about their alcohol use and opinions toward alcohol use.
- Listen in a non-judgmental manner and resist the urge to tell them what they should do or think.
- Discuss how drinking can affect relationships and their academic, career, athletic and/or personal goals.
- Ask your student about their academic performance, what type of social activities they are involved in and alcohol use by their friends and roommates.
- Set clear expectations and a high standard. Expect that your student attend classes regularly and receive good grades.
- Take stock of your own drinking habits. As adolescents approach the legal drinking age they look more toward your behaviors to guide their actions.
- Stay in regular contact throughout the semester and academic year.
If your student does choose to drink, consider discussing strategies they might use to drink more safely:
- Eat food with protein before drinking
- Limit number of drinks
- Pace drinks to one per hour
- Drink water in between alcoholic drinks
- Go out in a group and come home with that group
If you are concerned about your student’s substance use, please seek assistance from our campus resources and/or encourage your student to reach out to us. For more information, or to speak with a Health Promotion Specialist, call the Center for Health Promotion at 413-577-5181.