As parents or guardians, it is very important to discuss the risks and consequences associated with alcohol with your student before they transition to campus. Although many students choose not to drink, they may still be exposed to risky situations that may include the consumption of alcohol during college. It helps if a student knows they can talk to a parent openly about alcohol.
Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips for a productive, meaningful, conversation with your student before they arrive at Mizzou:
- Communicate the “why”. Why is this important to you, and where does it fit into your hopes for your student’s college experience? Connect the topic of substance use to other conversations you have had with your child about transitioning into college life. Here is a great resource on creating conversation among parents and college students.
- Set clear expectations. Studies show that parents and legal guardians have a significant impact on their student’ drinking behaviors in college.
- Know relevant university policies and the Standard of Conduct and discuss them with your student. It’s also important for students to understand what is considered a standard drink.
- Discuss negative consequences, legal and career implications, and academic effects of student drinking from the use of alcohol or controlled substance. Making students aware of the relationship between alcohol, sleepiness, and GPA that exists in college is valuable (Singleton & Wolfson, 2009)
- Risky consumption is associated with lower GPA, and students at research universities who are heavy episodic drinkers are less likely to be engaged in interactions with faculty (Porter & Prior, 2007)
- Frequency of binge drinking is associated with lower grades in the college setting (Pascarella, et al., 2007)
- Educate your student about the role of alcohol in high risk situations and the signs of alcohol poisoning or related issues and how to obtain assistance – for themselves, a friend, or roommate.
- Encourage your student to complete eCheckup To Go, a personalized, evidence-based online prevention intervention related to alcohol before they arrive on campus. This module reinforces making informed choices and becoming familiar with available resources.
- Discuss your family history with substance use. It is important for students to know if there is a history of alcohol misuse or other substance misuse in the family so they can create a plan and access on campus resources accordingly.
- Support your student throughout their Mizzou experience. This is critical and particularly important in the first six weeks of the semester. Learn about and support the university’s prevention efforts and encourage your student to engage in proactive education programs and utilize resources. Additional resources that all students can benefit from include completing our online suicide awareness and prevention program, Ask.Listen.Refer., downloading the Sanvello app to support well-being and learning about the Care Team.