What every parent should know
when your child goes off to college
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[August 15, 2009]
As the fall semester gets ready
to begin for most colleges, there is no time more appropriate than
now to talk to your child about the risks of underage drinking.
Freshman are particularly at risk, as often they are far from home
trying to make new friends in a strange, new environment. Some will
see alcohol as one way to integrate into their new environment,
placing them at increased risk for the dangers of underage drinking.
According to research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism, the consequences of excessive drinking by college
students are more significant, more destructive and more costly than
many parents realize. Alarmingly, it has been found that these
consequences affect students whether or not they drink. Statistics
from this report indicate that drinking by college students age
18-24 contributes to an estimated 1,700 student deaths, 599,000
injuries and 97,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape each year.
During this critical time before school starts, parents can add
"Talk to my child about underage drinking" to their list of things
to do to prepare him or her for college.
Evidence suggests that the first six weeks of the first semester
are critical to a first-year student's academic success. Because
many students escalate their drinking during the early days of
college, the potential exists for excessive alcohol consumption to
interfere with successful adaptation to campus life. Consumption of
alcohol at a potentially difficult and stressful time such as
transitioning from high school to college can only complicate their
attempts to have a successful year at college.
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Parents may think that they don't have any power to prevent their
child from drinking, but there are things that they can do. They can
inquire about campus alcohol policies, call their sons and daughters
frequently, ask about roommates, and remind them of the penalties
for underage drinking as well as how alcohol use can lead to date
rape, violence and academic failure.
As research continues to show, the human brain is not completely
developed until mid-20s. Adding chemicals to it when it is still
going through development of the areas having to do with planning,
decision-making, good judgment and impulse control can have negative
results. Help your son or daughter have a good college experience by
reminding them that you disapprove of underage drinking because it
is illegal, unsafe and could damage their future.
Start talking. Keep talking.
[Text from file received from
Chestnut Health Systems]