Friday phone call

Back when I was a student, families often chose a set day/time to have their student call home. With cell phones everywhere, that is no longer an issue, and you can text or IM your Deacs just about any time. I would argue that even though texting is quick and easy, you should have a real phone call at least once a week.

Longtime Daily Deac-ers have heard this before, but as we look to the start of the semester, it is a good time to remind you of it. As you and your students try to determine the best day/time for them to call you for a proper conversation, you may want to suggest that it be on Friday afternoons. Why?

– Research by Meg Small at Penn State showed parental communication on weekends (30 minutes or more of general conversations not specifically related to substance use) decreased the high risk use of alcohol on those weekends.

– Research by Rob Turrisi at Penn State showed parental communication with students between high school graduation and the start of the first year of college concerning expectations related to alcohol use decreased high risk use of and negative consequences of alcohol in their children during the first semester of their college experience.

Our own campus administrators have some theories as to why these parental communications have the effect of reducing high risk behaviors. It might be that the call from Mom, Dad, or loved ones provides an implicit reminder of family connections, responsibilities, and parental expectations for behavior. Those pings from home might hit the student’s conscience and serve to reduce risky behavior.
So talk to your Deac before the weekend begins. Be overt about drinking and expectations if it suits your personal style and family dynamics, or be very general and subtle and simply remind your student how proud you are of them, and tell them to be safe in whatever they do.

And of course, tell your students you love them.  They can never hear that enough!


— by Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94

Categories: the daily deac