College and Alcohol:
College is a time of new found independence, figuring out who you are as an adult, and experiencing life for the first time, but it can be overwhelming for both children, and parents. Especially when all that the media seems to portray is everyone in college drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) further depicts how daunting this time of life is, and how dangerous some of these situations can be. With 1,825 student deaths from alcohol- related unintentional injuries, 696,000 students who report assault by another student while drinking, 97,000 reported instances of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape, 19% of students meeting criteria for alcohol disorder (with only 5% seeking treatment), and 25% of all students reporting academic consequences from drinking, no one can deny that we need to address this issue.
Talking with your child:
How are you supposed to have an adult conversation about alcohol, when it feels like last week they were learning how to read and write? There is no easy answer, but thankfully there are some resources to help. Collegeparentsmatter.org was written by Dr. Amelia Arria, and Dr. David Jernigan, and not only does it show a seven step guide for discussion with your child, but it also tackles why situations are high risk. They explain Spring Break, a 21st birthday, for example, and how to talk to your college-aged child about these situations. They explain you can disapprove, and you can have boundaries, but you can still be there for your child. It's an amazing resource that could help so many parents talk with their children, and might one day help your young adult make a well-educated decision when faced with these situations. For more information, please visit: www.collegeparentsmatter.org/communicationtips.html.
Everyone in college drinks, it's inevitable...
This statement couldn't be more wrong. The Washington Post recently stated that 20% of college students don't drink. That's one in five students. And trust me, there are plenty of student orgs at college which allow college students to maintain a drug/ alcohol free lifestyle.
Another argument I hear is that parties always have alcohol. It isn't true! If there is alcohol present, you don't have to drink. If someone starts pushing you to drink, maybe you need to reevaluate the situation. This is what needs to be discussed with new college students, because if nothing else, it shows that they aren't alone.
The greatest tool that I've had in my life is knowledge, and all that I'm asking of you is to help give that to your children.
By Jason Fowler – Student, Son, Intern at the Carroll County Health Department, and proud member of the aforementioned 20%.
- www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/04/09/how-much-do-college- students-really-drink