This fall is probably a bittersweet time of year for you, if you have a child who just went off to college. Many academic and career opportunities lie ahead for your student, as well as chances to start new friendships and have fun. However, you and other Virginia residents who have children at college need to understand the hazards they face on their own, particularly when it comes to college drinking. At the law office of Mark B. Arthur, PC, we want to help ensure your child is off to the best start possible.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the first few weeks of freshman year are a critical time for new students. Drinking with peers is often seen as a rite of passage, and your child may feel as if he or she needs to participate in partying and drinking games to fit in. Young people often do not consider the dangers of heavy drinking. Each year, around 1,825 college students are killed in alcohol-related incidents, including drunk driving crashes. About 97,000 students every year report being victims of alcohol-related sexual assault, and 696,000 are physically assaulted by an intoxicated peer.
Additionally, those who fall into heavy drinking patterns in college can face such consequences as falling grades, expulsion from school, alcohol poisoning and criminal charges. How do you protect your child from these dangers? As with most parenting aspects, the key lies in communicating with your children, setting expectations and remaining involved even when they are on their own. You can explain the risks to your child and talk about how to drink responsibly and still have fun. If you provide financial support, you might set goals and rewards for academic progress. You should also stay in frequent contact with your student.
The first year of college should be a safe time for your child, as well as an educationally and socially rewarding one. Our page on student defense explains further.