Research by Meg Small also 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.
So Friday afternoon is a great time to call your students. Talk to them – it doesn’t even have to be about alcohol or other risky behaviors! There appears to be something about the act of talking to family members – perhaps it’s an implicit reminder that there are people counting on the student to make smart choices and avoid high-risk actions – that helps regulate student behavior.
Similar 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.
Parent and family voices DO make an impact on student behavior with regard to alcohol. Keep that dialogue open and continuing. If you have not already, consider talking to your student about your expectations about:
- drinking and drug use
- attending class
- drinking and driving
- financial responsibility
- the balance between studying and socializing
- other expectations you have about personal safety/making smart choices