DISCUS

PARENTS: Before Your Son Or Daughter Heads Off To College, Talk To Them About Drinking

August 8, 2006 08:00 PM

-- Five Tips for Discussing Alcohol With College Students --

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  With millions of college students preparing to leave home for the campus, Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy, a former college president and university chancellor, today urged parents to set aside time to talk with their sons and daughters about drinking.

“During these remaining days of summer, while families are together, parents should take time to talk to their college-bound students about drinking,” said Dr. Cressy.  “Invest this time to ensure they make responsible decisions.  Even though many college students no longer live at home, the research shows parents have the most influence over their son’s or daughter’s decision to drink or not to drink.”

According to the federal government’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the best way to influence your son or daughter to avoid drinking is to have a strong, trusting relationship with him or her.  In addition, the data from the National Academy of Sciences, the Federal Trade Commission and other institutions, show most youth who drink obtain alcohol primarily through non-commercial sources such as parents, family, friends and other adults over 21. 

Dr. Cressy offers parents the following tips for discussing alcohol with their college-age young adults:

1. Be clear in your expectations about your son’s/daughter’s decisions about drinking.
If your son or daughter is under 21, tell them you expect them to obey the law and not drink.  If your son or daughter is 21 or older, tell them you expect them to drink responsibly and in moderation, if they choose to drink at all.

2. Talk about alcohol facts, reasons not to drink and ways to avoid drinking in difficult situations.

3. Address how to get help on campus for themselves or a friend.

4. Keep in close contact to determine if your son or daughter is feeling overwhelmed, making friends, getting involved with activities and enjoying classes.
 
5. Make sure they know you are there to support and help them through this transition period.

Parents can receive additional advice and information from the “Parents, you’re not done yet,” brochure developed by the distilled spirits industry’s not-for-profit organization, The Century Council, which is dedicated to fighting underage drinking and drunk driving.  The brochure can be downloaded at The Century Council’s website, www.centurycouncil.org.

Another resource is the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s college drinking prevention website, which has information for college parents at www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/CollegeParents/

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