Wellness is the foundation of student success at The Ohio State University. Prioritizing health and wellness can have a positive impact on your student's academic success. One of the largest risks to student safety and success is the misuse of alcohol and other drugs. Students may choose to experiment with alcohol and other drugs for a variety of reasons. It is important to talk with your student about making healthy choices and set clear expectations about avoiding high-risk behaviors.
High-Risk Behaviors may include
Encourage your student to make healthy choices
Discussing substance misuse can be complex and it is important to remain non-judgmental. Recognize that you can't control all aspects of your students' behavior when they are away at college. Know that you've done your best to instill values that will help them be successful and make healthy decisions. Sharing your values around this subject is helpful when it comes to the decisions your student makes and knowing when they should seek help.
Start the Conversation: This is the most important step. Be confident in knowing that you already possess the skills to have this conversation. Ask specific questions about how your student will make choices and how they anticipate those decisions will impact their holistic wellness.
Try these conversation starters:
- How will you decide when you will or won't drink at college?
- If you plan to drink, what will you do to stay safe?
- Are you aware of how you can be involved with student groups or campus organizations?
Listen: Provide time for your student to share without judgement, interruption or criticism. Most likely this will lead to other ongoing and open communication on this topic.
Anticipate: Students may choose to experiment with alcohol and other drugs for various reasons. It is important to supply alternative ways to cope with stress, relax or socialize. Be prepared to share about your expereinces with alcohol and other drugs. Discuss your experience and what you want your student to know, learn and apply. Go from monitoring their actions to allowing them to share experiences. This will allow them to openly share more about their own experiences.
Shared Goals: During the conversation, your student may become defensive. Remind them that you want them to be ready for situations they may encounter. Shift the conversation toward common goals you both have around this topic. Specifically, a common goal is for your student be healthy, safe and successful at Ohio State.
Thank your Student: As the initial conversation concludes, thank them for listening and for reaching an agreement to talk more about this topic on an on-going basis.