Talking With Your Student about Alcohol and Drinking

Sending your child off to college can be an exciting yet “nerve-wracking” time. College is very much different than it was when you were a college student. It is more important now than ever that you talk to your student about drinking and the social pressures they may face in college. The most important thing to remember is that open and honest communication is the key to you and your child’s success when it comes to alcohol consumption. When students know that their parents care and are concerned about their alcohol consumption, they are more likely to be more responsible in their behavior.

The following guidelines can help you help your student when it comes to alcohol and drinking:

  1. Continue the conversation: keep the communication lines open with your son or daughter by discussing drinking and how her or she can continue to make smart choices at college.
  2. Create shared expectations: set goals and consequences if goals are not met for your student’s performance both academically and socially at college.
  3. Know and respect the law: understand the penalties for underage and/or abusive drinking and share them with your son or daughter.
  4. Focus on “true norms”: let your son or daughter know that the majority of college students don’t abuse alcohol. Moderate or infrequent drinking is the true norm.
  5. Share the facts: thanks to discussions as your child was growing up, he or she understands the effects of alcohol, but you can also share responsible drinking tips for when he or she is of legal age and ways to help friends who may be abusing alcohol.
  6. Take advantage of campus resources: colleges and universities offer a variety of services from academic support to alcohol treatment assistance. Encourage students to take advantage of the appropriate resources…especially if they or their friends may be abusing alcohol.

Other tips…

Here are some helpful conversation starters to talk about drinking with your student: