Information for Parents
Starting college is a time of transition for both the student and the parent. The student is adjusting to increasing independence, while the parent is adjusting to decreased involvement in their student's life. This transition involves changing the relationship from adult-child to adult-adult. Below are some suggestions that may help you negotiate this process.
Transitioning to an Adult-Adult Relationship
To keep communication open, it may be helpful to...
Stay in touch
Be a good listener
Keep an open mind
Stay informed by...
Understanding the campus resources that are available for your student and encouraging your student to take advantage of these resources.
It is reasonable to become concerned about your student if he/she
experiences significant weight gain/loss
experiences frequent illnesses
experiences excessive fatigue
changes behavior or appearance
talks of hopelessness or lack of purpose
If you become concerned, please contact the University Counseling Center or one of the other resources available on campus.
Coping with your Student leaving for College
Ambivalence is normal.
Feel the emotions. Disregarding our feelings is not helpful or healthy.
Pay attention to keeping yourself active and healthy.
Recognize the importance of your child going to college and becoming independent.
Find an outlet for yourself.
Discussing Alcohol Consumption with your Student
1. Communicate Clearly
Anticipate potential situations to which your student may be exposed. Role play or discuss strategies that will enable your student to deal with these situations. For instance, "You're at a party, and the person who drove you to the party has been drinking. What will you do?"
Listen carefully to your student's thoughts and feelings
Lecturing is not generally helpful.
2. Communicate academic expectations.
Clearly communicate your expectations regarding academic performance. Be prepared to initiate this discussion face to face and not over the telephone. Research studies indicate that partying may contribute as much to a student's decline in grades as difficulty with academic work.
3. Communicate alcohol facts.
Students must know that alcohol is toxic and too much consumption can be fatal. This means that engaging in drinking games, dares/bets, etc. can be dangerous. You do not need to exaggerate. Let the facts speak for themselves on this one.
4. Take a firm stance.
Let your student know that it is OK to intervene when a friend is in trouble with alcohol.
Students must know that it is acceptable to stand up for a safe campus environment. Students who do not drink are at times affected by those who do. Tell your student to talk to the offender or to their residence hall manager.
5. Know about alcohol consumption on campus.
Talk to your student about alcohol consumption. Often times, students exaggerate their peers' use of alcohol. They tend to act on what they perceive to be the norm. Make this an ongoing discussion as opposed to a one-time lecture. Look for and create "teachable moments," by using TV news or newspaper articles that deal with substance use.
6. Avoid normalizing inappropriate alcohol consumption.
Avoid telling tales of drinking exploits from your own college years. Entertaining students with stories of drinking back "in the good old days" normalizes what, even then, was abnormal behavior.
Avoid contradictions between your words and actions.
7. Encourage volunteerism.
Encourage your student to volunteer in the community. Volunteerism not only structures free time but also provides students with a chance to develop skills and gain valuable experience.
8. Clarify that alcohol must be used legally and responsibly.
Make it clear that under age alcohol consumption and alcohol impaired driving is against the law.
Make it clear that if your student is of age and does drink, he/she should be a positive role model in the responsible use of alcohol.
9. If your student does become intoxicated ...
Don't attempt to talk to your student while he/she is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Wait until the next day.
If you are concerned about the immediate health of your student, get medical help immediately.
Resources for your Student
University Counseling Center (UCC)
Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability (OSAA)
Student Accessibility Services (SAS)
University Health Center (UHC)
Dean of Students
Campus Food Pantry