Your son or daughter is now a college student, and you could not be more proud. Still, you sometimes worry about how they are doing at school. Are they safe? Are they getting enough sleep? And, for some parents, another question arises: Are they drinking while underage?
Some college students make the unwise decision to drink alcohol while they are under the legal drinking age of 21. After all, some campuses have a culture of raucous partying and heavy drinking. But underage drinking is still illegal, even if it occurs on your child’s college campus frequently. As a parent, you may be wondering how you should address the possibility of your underage child’s alcohol use.
Have an honest conversation
Many parents hem and haw around the difficult topic of underage drinking. Rather, consider this an opportunity to have an honest discussion about alcohol. There is no need to be shy when having this talk with your child. It is far more important to have an honest, awkward conversation than to avoid this important subject altogether.
Ask the difficult questions
In the same vein, be prepared to ask your child some difficult questions. Be straightforward and ask whether they have engaged in underage drinking on campus. Ask whether their friends, peers or campus leaders partake in underage drinking. Bringing up these tough questions may be the only way to get the answers that you need.
Discuss alcohol abuse
College students sometimes feel invincible. In fact, they are just as susceptible to alcohol abuse as adults are. Bring this up with your child, and discuss the possibility that underage drinking can lead to alcoholism. Tell them that their academic and professional careers could be at stake from alcohol use.
Know the criminal consequences
Finally, your child needs to understand that underage drinking can have serious criminal consequences. They may face consequences not only from their college but the Indiana criminal justice system. The penalties can include fines, mandatory alcohol abuse counseling, loss of driving privileges and even jail time. It is crucial for your college-aged child to understand the potential consequences of drinking underage.