Before teen leaves, talk about alcohol
In the coming weeks, millions of college-bound freshmen will be leaving home for the campus for the first time.
As parents prepare their teens for college, it’s important to set aside time to talk about alcohol.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, teens are much more likely to delay drinking when they feel they have a close, supportive tie with a parent or guardian.
Here are some tips for parents to guide the discussion: Set clear expectations for academic achievement and responsible behavior; talk about alcohol facts, reasons not to drink and ways to avoid drinking in difficult situations; address how to get help on campus for themselves or a friend; keep in close contact to determine if your son or daughter is feeling overwhelmed, making friends, getting involved with activities and enjoying classes; and make sure they know you are there to support them through this transition period.
Even though your college-age student may no longer be living at home, research shows parents have the most influence over their son’s or daughter’s decision to drink or not to drink. Invest this time together to ensure your teen gets off on the right track for academic success.
Sam Zakhari, Ph.D.
(The writer is senior vice president of science for the Distilled Spirits Council and former division director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.)