University Counseling Center (UCC)
Guide to Alcohol and Other Drugs
What Can Parents Do?
Many times parents and young adults have a difficult time talking about alcohol and other drugs (AOD). To avoid negative outcomes, it is important for parents and students to be aware of the risks and possible consequences associated with AOD use. Research indicates that parents play a key role in the overall success of university students.
Here are a few ways to talk to your student and some topics that should be discussed.
What to do right now:
- Communicate the facts and risks regarding AOD use.
- Set clear and realistic expectations regarding academics, finances and AOD use.
- Discuss a balance between social time and study time.
- Be a good example/role model.
- Understand how enabling behaviors can increase risk for problems.
- Continue the dialog and carefully listen to your student.
- Have you decided whether or not to drink, smoke or use other drugs at UR?
- How can I help you with that decision?
- Let's talk about the pros, cons, and risks associated with your decisions.
If your student intends not to drink, ask:
- What will you do if you find yourself at a party with only alcohol to drink?
- What will you say if someone asks you why you are not drinking?
- What will you do if someone offers you other drugs?
- What will you do if you are asked to "baby-sit" someone who is very drunk? How will you know if he/she may have alcohol poisoning?
Once your student is at UR, ask questions such as:
- What do you think of the classes you are taking?
- How are you getting involved on campus?
- Are you meeting many new people?
- What is the social scene like, what do you do for fun?
- What is different from what you expected?
- What challenges have you faced?
KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS!
How Students are Enabled to Make High Risk Choices
Enabling is any response people make to someone's high risk choices that allows them to keep making those choices without much sense of risk. There are a variety of ways that students are enabled to use alcohol and other drugs, many are very discreet. When enabling occurs, individuals do not experience as many of the negative consequences of their use.
Enabling behaviors include:
- Denying there is a problem
- Bailing out
- Covering up
- Making excuses
- Offsetting consequences
- Taking over responsibility
- Encouraging high-risk use
Parents, faculty/staff, and peers can all play a role in enabling student's high-risk choices without being conscious of the impact of their actions. Therefore, we all have the responsibility and challenge to create an environment where low-risk choices are the norm.
From Georgia State University, Parent Resources