It may be hard to believe, but soon your son or daughter will be packing up to head off to college for the first time. This will be a new stage in your relationship- one that demands new ways to connect, interact, and communicate.
When it comes to alcohol and other drugs, the "Just Say No" approach is probably too simplistic. By the time they reach older adolescence, many teens have been exposed to alcohol and drugs and may have seen classmates or friends experiment without negative consequences.
Scare tactics are unlikely to work and are more likely to elicit looks of boredom and disbelief. Instead, your soon-to-be college student needs thoughtful communication, education about the facts, reasoned discussion of expectations, and strategies for making wise choices.
Although teens sometimes seems to have one foot out the door, parents still matter and you can help your teen make decisions not to drink, smoke, or use other drugs. Nobody said parenting was easy. The more independent your teen gets the more you may feel yourself caught between wanting to hold on and getting ready to let go.
Even though it may feel like he or she is almost an adult, your college-bound teen still looks to you for guidance and support. Stay involved, because your influence and advice makes a difference!
Think through your own expectations about your teen's behavior in college. Be clear about your stance on alcohol and other drugs, including any consequences you will impose if your rules are broken. Try to avoid posing restrictions like putting off paying their tuition. They are asking for help, and removing access to education isn't going to get them the help they need. Be sure your expectations are reasonable, well thought-out, and convey trust and support. Communicate these expectations to your teen well before he or she leaves for college.
Make sure your child knows that most college students don't drink and that there are plenty of other ways to get involved on campus without copious amount of alcohol.
Communication is key:
Listen for signs your student is having a hard time coping with the university environment. Speak with your student several times each week and ask them questions. If you think your student maybe in trouble please contact the university so we can assist in helping them be successful.