Talking to your student about alcohol
Tips on how to talk to your student about alcohol:
At NDSU we encourage you to talk with your students about decisions they will make regarding alcohol and other drugs. In fact, research suggested that parents, mothers in particular, who had proactive communications with their college age teens about alcohol use had proactive effects on their student’s drinking and drinking related consequences.*
Here are some tips about how to talk with your student:
- Listen. It is important to talk with your student, not at them, about alcohol and other drugs. Listening might be the easiest way to start this often difficult conversation. Ask them about their concerns and what they think college life will be like.
- Set and make your expectations clear. Make your expectations known about alcohol and drug use, and this is also a great time to talk about your academic expectations. If your student knows that you expect sound academic work, they will be more apt to study verses drinking in their free time.
- Give them the critical information. Every year thousands of college students across the country die of alcohol poisoning. Give your student the information they need – make it clear that alcohol can be deadly. Talk to them about dangerous drinking patterns such as drinking games and contests.
- Empower your student. Talk to your student about how to stand up for their rights, empower them to take a stand when someone is pressuring them to make high risk choices. Discuss what they would do if such a situation presented itself and where to go for help. Let them know that their Residence Assistants, Peer Mentors and Hall Directors all live within in their residence hall and are a great support system.
- Clear up the myths. Students almost always overestimate the amount and frequency of how much their peers are using alcohol and other drugs. A study conducted at NDSU in Spring of 2005 found that students thought their peers were drinking about 6.05 drinks when they drank and they were actually only drinking 4.92 drinks. Students, especially first year students, are influenced by peers and tend to drink up to what they perceive to be the norm. Clearing up those misperceptions regarding their peers’ usage is vital.
- Be the example. Sharing stories about your own drinking can normalize what is not the norm. Avoid sending mixed messages to your student. Evaluate your own use of alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications and consider how your attitudes, actions and stories are shaping your student’s choices. If your behavior isn’t congruent with your message – your student is going to notice.
- Encourage involvement. Students who volunteer and get involved in their community are less likely to misuse alcohol and other drugs. Many different opportunities exist both at NDSU and in the Fargo-Moorhead community. For more information on ways to get involved check out NDSU's Volunteer Network or the Memorial Union Student Activities page.
- Know the Law. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume or possess alcohol. Help your student understand that the decisions they make now regarding alcohol and drugs will stay with them for a while. The decision they make may also hinder their ability to obtain the career they are working so hard towards.
- Know NDSU policy. NDSU is a dry campus and the policy is enforced. Should your student violate that, or any other policy, they will be held accountable according to the process outlined in the Code of Student Behavior. Parents may or may not be notified about the situation, the parental notification policy provides more detailed information.
Talking to Your College Student About Alcohol Use
Parents: Are you looking for more information about how to talk to your college student about alcohol? The NDSU Extension Service has put together a guide to help you called "Tips for Talking to Your College Student About Alcohol Use." Click on the title or the image below to access this helpful information!