Sending your teen off to college can be an exciting and scary time in a parent’s life. You are more than likely looking forward to the hustle and bustle of life slowing down when they leave, but will more than likely feel sad and nervous when they are gone. There is no way to fully protect your teen while they are in college, but there are things that you can do to minimize the chances of them becoming addicted to anything while they are gone. The following guide walks you through a few steps to take to help your child stay clean and sober during their college years.

Talk to Them About Peer Pressure

Many parents assume that their child knows about peer pressure and can stand up for themselves when someone is pressuring them to do something that they don’t want to do, but that isn’t always the case. There are many times when teens want to fit in so badly that they will do things that they wouldn’t normally do.

A great example of this is pledging to fraternities and sororities. When teens become pledges, they often don’t realize the risks associated with some of the things that the house members want them to do in order to get into the frat or sorority. You need to talk to your teen and let them know that before they pledge to any house, they should talk to you about what they are being required to do. This allows you to help them weigh the pros and cons of the decision to decrease the chances of them being injured during the pledge.

Talk to Your Teen about Time Management

Many teens become addicted to prescription medications when they are in college. They take Adderall or Ritalin or other prescription stimulant medications that are designed to help with focus in order to study for their exams. This isn’t a good practice because they could be allergic to the medications or take too many of them and overdose.

It’s best to help your teen learn proper time management skills so that they can study properly and still have fun while they are in college. Many teens get wrapped up in all of the fun that they can have and don’t take the time to focus on their studies a little bit each day and make the mistake of trying to cram all of the information into their brain at the last minute. This causes stress, anxiety and can cause them to take the medications they don’t need to be taking.

Talk to Your Teen About Date Rape

You need to be upfront and honest with your teen about the risks of college life. Explain to them that there are drugs that can be slipped into their drink to make them lose consciousness. Once they are unconscious, anyone can do anything to them that they want to do. This can be a very dangerous situation.

Parents often make the mistake of assuming that date rape only happens to women and don’t realize that they need to talk to their boys about it too. There are many men who are drugged and raped during their college years. Explain to your teen that they should never take a drink from someone at a party or set their drink down and walk away from it. It’s better for them to be overprotective of themselves than have something horrible happen to them.

Talk to Your Teen About Staying Sober

Binge drinking is very common in college. While it can be a fun and exciting time for many people, you need to explain to your teen the risks that come with drinking. If your teen drinks before they are of legal age and gets caught, the college could kick them out of school and they could have legal ramifications to deal with.

Drinking can also be dangerous because when your teen first starts drinking they won’t know what their limit is. They will more than likely try to keep up with their friends and end up drinking way too much. This could cause them to suffer alcohol poisoning, which could kill them. Explain to your teen that they need to stay sober until they are of legal age. Once they are able to drink legally, they need to do so in moderation. Suggest having a glass of water between each drink and drinking plenty of water before they go out to ensure that they don’t become dehydrated when they do start drinking. It’s also important to impart to your teen how important eating is when they know that they are going to drink. Drinking on an empty stomach causes the alcohol to absorb in their system faster, which can create a dangerous situation for them.

Talk to Your Teen About the Freshmen 15

When teens first to go to college, it’s very common for them to gain a bit of weight. This is often referred to as the freshmen fifteen because it’s common to gain ten to fifteen pounds when first starting college. This is because their diet is often very poor and students tend to spend more time hanging out than working out. It’s important to talk to them about this so that they don’t make the mistake of trying to use diet pills to lose the weight that they gain or to maintain their current weight. Diet pills can be dangerous and many can be addictive, so avoiding them altogether is the best option.

Create an open line of communication between you and your child. They need to know that they can call and talk to you about anything that happens in their life without having to worry about being lectured or judged, even if it means telling you they aren’t sober. You want to be able to provide them with the love and support that they need to get through the somewhat trying years of college with the best outcome possible. College should be a fun and exciting time, but being safe is essential for their future.


Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.