For Parents


While your students are now on their own, you still have ways to encourage them to make choices that keep them healthy and ensure a fun and safe time.

For example, talking about alcohol is not as difficult as you may think. Students are most receptive when parents use a non-judgmental tone and ask questions that help the student reflect on their choices (e.g., “What’s your plan for getting to and from the party?” vs. “Make sure you have a designated driver.” Or “What happens to students if they are caught drinking?” vs. “You know you’ll get into a lot of trouble if you’re caught.”).

As you may have experienced, “lectures” tend to shut down communication. So, use questions to help students think and problem-solve out loud about how they plan to handle drinking at college.

Some conversation-starters include:

If you want to have an in-depth conversation about alcohol use, check out the “Talking to others about their alcohol use” page.

If you are concerned that your student has a problem with drugs or alcohol, consult this step-by-step guide developed by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.