Reality Check Fact #2

Over 50% of PSU students report having 4 or fewer drinks each week, if they drink at all.

Fact taken from 2009 NH Higher Education on line Alcohol and Drug Survey at PSU.


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A Guide for Parents

How You Can Help Your College Students

(A compilation of material taken from various resources, including Channing L. Bete Co.; “Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years” by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger; “Helping Your First-Year College Student Succeed” by Richard H. Mullendore and Cathie Hatch; other universities; and the staff of the Plymouth State University Counseling and Human Relations Center)

  • College may be the first time that you and your child have been separated. Remember that your child is taking you with him/her. Though he/she may not admit it to you, he/she will quote things you’ve said-and recount things you’ve shown him/her. Remember to allow your child to be independent, and most of all, remind yourself that it’s natural that you and your child feel nervous and excited.
  • Offer support to your child. Be there to listen, talk and reassure him/her. Encourage your child to turn to you in good times and bad. Stay steady even when your child is shaky. You can provide a familiar and safe haven, an anchor in a new and unfamiliar sea, a place for solace and encouragement and admiration. Be continually loving, supportive, and caring.
  • You still have a very important role in keeping your child safe and healthy, especially around alcohol and other drugs. Remind them they don’t have to drink to have fun. Ask about their social life, not just academics. If you do suspect a problem, get help immediately.
  • Trust that your child can make his/her own decisions and allow him/her to solve problems alone.
  • Mistakes, when they are made, are often necessary motivators for learning and change. Let your child experience the natural consequences of his/her “mistakes.”
  • Affirm confidence in student potential.
  • Shortly before your child goes away to college, he/she may need extra time with friends. Allow him/her space, but make sure he/she knows you are always available when needed.
  • Eliminate major controversial discussions.
  • Young people often need encouragement to seek the help they need. Learn about resources at the college your child is attending and encourage your child to look into support services if necessary. Support your child’s emerging independence by helping him/her to take action on his/her own behalf.
  • Deans, instructors and faculty advisors can provide advice on academic matters.
  • Residence Hall Directors (RDs), Assistant Residence Hall Directors (ARDs), and Community Advisors (CAs) are trained to help students who live in campus housing.
  • Encourage your child to know where the university Health Services and Counseling Center are located. Knowing where these resources are located can be reassuring to students and parents.
  • College is expensive. Work cooperatively on reasonable budgets.
  • Depending on your financial situation, your child may have to learn money management. Giving your child opportunities to learn money management can be important in their learning process, regardless of your financial situation.
  • Your child should know how to do laundry, clean and cook. Time management is also an effective and necessary skill. The college student who understands the consequences of too little sleep or being late has a big advantage.
  • For your child’s safety, remind him/her to: Walk only where it is safe. Never drink and drive. Keep room/apartment locked.
  • Make the most of visits home. Go for a long walk or out for a special dinner when your child comes home. If possible, avoid changing your child’s bedroom.
  • Send cards, notes, e-mails, and care packages to your child.
  • Always forward student mail without reading it.
  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • Don’t compare your student to siblings, friends, or others.
  • Carefully consider before visiting campus unannounced.
  • Accept the choice of major; it rarely determines a career.
  • Take comfort in knowing that formation of identity, independence, and intimacy are as much a part of college as algebra and literature.
  • Trust your student.
  • You may feel a sense of loss as your child becomes more independent. Don’t take their independence personally. Remember, it’s important for young adults to rely less on their parents. It’s a sign that they are growing up.
  • Separation that has successfully been achieved brings with it an ability on the part of the young adult to function independently while still maintaining an important emotional tie to his/her parents.

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