Preparing Your Child for the College Party Scene
Adolescence is a time of extremely turbulent emotions. Your child is transitioning from childhood to adulthood, and it may feel like it’s all happening a little too fast. As a parent, one of the toughest hurdles you have to clear is sending your child off to college. This is an especially difficult challenge for parents of children who will be living away from home for the first time.
Your child will be facing a whole new environment full of much more freedom than he or she has ever experienced. There will be no more supervision or curfews and no one to set limits on his or her behavior. Is your child ready for what lies ahead?
What Freshmen Can Expect
College students are faced with many dramatic changes. For example, new college students are suddenly faced with a schedule that is completely flexible. Unlike high school, college is a time in which your child’s schedule will not be dictated to him or her. There will be no bells ringing to signal that it’s time to move to the next class or begin or end the day.
How your child chooses to fill his or her free time is largely up to him or her. Students who are unprepared for this new freedom may be tempted to fill their time with activities that may end up being unproductive and even dangerous. For example, many students spend a lot of time partying and having fun, but dabbling with drugs can quickly lead to dependence or addiction. Talk to your son or daughter about this newfound freedom he or she is about to experience and the temptations that come with it.
Being Prepared for Drug Use and Abuse
Experimentation with drugs and alcohol is common on college campuses. In some ways, college life is a bridge between youth and adulthood, and the college party scene seems like a way to embrace the carefree life of late adolescence. Young people believe that what they are doing is just letting loose and having fun, but there can be consequences, including addiction or arrest.
Your child should know that he or she will be encouraged to participate in partying, and while this may seem like just a way to socialize and have fun, it can quickly get out of control.
In the late teen and early adult years, peer pressure can feel stronger than logic. Discuss with your child possible responses to others who try to encourage him or her to go overboard and the scenarios he or she may face. For example, fraternities and sororities sometimes encourage substance abuse as part of pledging. But dabbling with drugs can be deadly. Many times, people who abuse drugs can’t simply change their minds and stop using them. Addiction can take hold quickly and when it does, it will overtake an adolescent’s goals and dreams.
Addiction isn’t the only danger. At college parties, personal safety should be a top priority. Your child should always be aware of his or her surroundings and avoid constantly focusing on technology such as cell phones. Remind your child to make sure to know his or her way around campus and to know how to get emergency help.
Balancing Socializing and Education
Socializing is a big part of the college scene, but young people should remember that the reason they are in college is to obtain an education. For freshmen, finding a balance between socializing and education is an unfamiliar challenge.
Before your child goes off to college, have a candid conversation with him or her about the freedom and unfamiliar experiences that lie ahead. It’s especially important for him or her to be aware of the long term consequences of making poor choices.
The college years will be a time full of opportunities to meet new people and have a wide variety of new experiences. Some of these opportunities will never be presented again. Impress on your child the importance of enjoying the college years while consistently making responsible choices and staying safe at all times.
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