College Drinking Culture: How to Talk to Your Child About Avoiding Peer Pressure
As we grow up, it is quite inevitable that we are exposed to drugs or alcohol at some point in our lives. There are several areas where this happens quite frequently, with one of these being college. In fact, it is accepted that drinking is a part of the college norm. Many college kids go out binge drinking or hit up parties every weekend, and this is all just considered “the college life.” Of course, it is far from the truth that this is just the way it is, as every college goer has the choice to say no and avoid those types of activities. You can help prevent your child from falling into this situation by talking with them about handling peer pressure and the college drinking culture.
Alcohol and Peer Pressure
Realistically, alcohol and peer pressure are pervasive within the college realm. Those college students that are throwing/attending parties and frequently drinking may try to convince new students or those not involved that they should participate for various reasons. They may say it is the cool thing to do, or that is how they fit in. Of course, these are not good reasons to delve into these activities whatsoever. People that require a person drink to be cool or fit in are not the type of people that one should associate with.
To give a little context on the prevalence of the college drinking culture, one can only look at the statistics. According to a national survey from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 60 percent of college students ages 18-22 had drunk alcohol within the past month, and almost 2 out of 3 had binge drank within that month. So, while parents may simply hope that their child will avoid it, they should still talk to them about the college drinking culture as a prevention tactic.
Approaching Your Child About the College Drinking Culture
There are certain ways that you should approach your child regarding this matter. Some may feel that threats or harsh words are the best way to put the fear of drinking into their child, but this can often have adverse results. Here are some useful methods for talking to your child:
- Compassion – Let your child know that you are not there to accuse them or assume that they will be drinking, but merely that you care and want them to have the information.
- Dangers – Explain the various risks that can be associated with drinking and alcoholism. These dangers could include things like drunk driving, hangovers, alcohol poisoning, poor decisions, etc. You can include providing exit strategies as well. Offer to come get them if they do happen to get in an uncomfortable situation or have no transportation. If far away, offer to pay for a cab or Uber if they need it.
- Peer Pressure – Address the fact that if someone pressures them, they have absolutely no obligation to agree. Give them some options of how they can say no, such as simply saying it straightforward, walking away, or even avoiding college parties altogether. Offer preventional methods, like carrying around a non-alcoholic drink so that if anyone offers them a drink, they can say they are all set.
- Questions – Let them know that you are open to any questions that they may have regarding alcohol and peer pressure. This allows them to satisfy their curiosity on anything they may be wondering about.
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