Imagine your teen in their first year of college. Living in a new town, meeting new people, learning about the things they are truly interested in. They probably feel like they're on top of the world, some might even say invincible. While this is a great and exciting feeling you are probably feeling so bittersweet about the whole new life ahead of them. However, this can also be a time teens are exposed to drugs and alcohol. The first year of college can be hard for a teen, especially if they are moving to a new town or a college where they don’t know anyone.
The pressure to fit in and “look cool” is strong and if your teen is approached with an illicit substance or pressured to underage drink, you want them to know how to handle the situation so they don’t end up in an even worse situation. Here are some tips for making sure your teen is prepared to deal with exposure to drugs, alcohol, and partying while in college. If you have a teen suffering from addiction issues, call one of the best substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC! Call Legacy Freedom of Wilmington to learn more.
How to Get Your Teens Ready for Alcohol and Drugs at College
Start your alcohol/drug education with them early
While it is never too late to begin teaching your teen about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, you should start as early as you deem appropriate. Don’t only tell them that “drugs are bad” but do some research and be able to explain to them how certain drugs can affect their still developing brain, their studies in college, and their relationships with friends and family. At this point in a teen's life they want to know why and if you’re able to answer their questions fully and honestly they are more likely to listen and understand what you’re trying to teach them.
Keep the lines of communication open
Don’t just preach to your teen about the dangers of using, ask them how they feel about being approached with drugs or alcohol. Ask them what they would do in a situation like that. If you harbor an open and honest environment your teen will be more comfortable coming to you if approached with a situation like that. Let your teen know that they can always be honest with you, even if they do try drugs or alcohol, because you want to be able to help them in any situation. Adolescents are more likely to be honest with their parents if they know they won’t get into trouble. Let them know that you will be disappointed but they have no reason to hide things from you because all you want to do is help.
If you’re planning to financially support your teen while in college, plan to monitor their spending and how much you give them on a weekly or monthly basis. If you start to notice that your teen is asking for more money or more often, ask them why. If they aren’t able to explain it or refuse to tell you why, it could be time to intervene. While, as parents, you don’t want to assume the worst you also want to be able to help your teen in the early stages of an addiction, if one is forming. If you are financially supporting your teen while they’re in college, it might not be a bad idea to make them aware that you will be able to access their bank account and see what they’re spending if you become suspicious. If you find that your teen is using, call one of the top substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC - Legacy Freedom. We can help your teen with quality outpatient programs.
Make a plan
Before your teen moves to college, make plans for what they will do in many different situations. Most colleges and dorms have very strict alcohol and drug policies so make sure your teen is aware of these before they move. Make a plan for how your child could remove themselves from a situation if they are off campus and become uncomfortable due to pressure or other people using. Perhaps an emergency taxi fund or look up the different public transportation options available in the town. Some colleges even have their own bus systems. Make sure your teen is aware of this and what bus to use before they even move.
Since most first year college students are required to live in a dorm, become aware with your teen about policies for switching roommates if their roommate parties in the dorm because lots of times if one roommate is caught with drugs or alcohol in a dorm, it can affect everyone else who lives in that room too. Make your teen aware of this and encourage them to speak to their dorm leader if they are ever in this situation. If you live close enough, let your teen know they could call you for a ride if they are in a situation they couldn’t get out of involving illegal substances, alcohol or partying.
Encourage your teen to become involved
Many colleges offer a wide range of activities, from sports to clubs to groups. Many of the sports teams drug test so if your teen is really passionate about a certain sport, encourage them to get involved. This can reassure you that your teen will stay away from substances that could be dangerous. Research some of the clubs your teen’s college offers before they start school so they will know everything that is available. There are many ways for your teen to get involved on campus and to keep busy around the right kind of people.
Keep connected with your teen regularly, especially during the first few months of college since this is when they will be meeting a lot of people and building relationships before classes start. Perhaps pick a certain time or two every week to have a quick phone call with your teen. By remaining connected even though your teen is no longer living at home, you ensure that sense of trust and communication. You and your teen's relationship will probably greatly change during this time in their life, keep reminding them that they can talk to you about any issues they have regarding drug and alcohol use.
Affordable Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Wilmington NC | Legacy Freedom
If you are worried your teen may be using drugs or alcohol while in college, call Legacy Freedom Treatment Center of Wilmington today. We're one of the top substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC. We offer many different treatment plans for substance abuse, including plans customized to your teen’s specific needs. We offer a safe and encouraging place for your teen to get the help they need. Our outpatient services give your teen the freedom to still attend school and to be around family and friends while overcoming the obstacle of addiction. It is never too late to help yourself or help someone you love live the life they deserve!