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Pepperdine | Community

Concerned Parents

Talking with Your Student

Talking with your son or daughter is very important - especially if you have reason to believe they may be using and/or abusing alcohol or other drugs. Some key things to consider as you initiate these challenging conversations:

  • Work to establish an open & trusting relationship. This ideally begins before your student comes to campus, however, it is never too late to start or start over.
  • Be a good role model. Don't be surprised if your student mirrors your behavior. One of the biggest predictors of adolescent drug abuse is parental substance abuse patterns.
  • Be factual and straightforward. If you have a concern, be direct about the concern that has developed.
  • Stay away from using "scare tactics". While reasonable consequences are helpful - empty threats and yelling are not.

Set clear expectations about such things as:

  • Attending class
  • Drinking and driving
  • Financial responsibility
  • Study time vs. social time
  • How you will stay in touch
  • Ask questions:
    • Tell me about how things are going?
    • How does the party scene compare to high school?
    • What is residence life like? What do you like and dislike?
    • How are you handling the stress of college? What are you doing to cope?
    • What can we do to help?

If you have questions about your student's behavior that you would like to discuss with a professional, please give us a call at 310-506-4210 or e-mail the Alcohol Education Coordinator, Sparkle Greenhaw, at