You are probably the most likely person to have an impact on your student as he or she makes important decisions in college and throughout life. Your son or daughter trusts you and relies on you for a great deal of health information. A 2008 survey of KSU students found that 77% of students get health information from their parents.* Talking to your college student about important topics and communicating your expectations may help him/her to make healthy choices.¹ ² ³
It's important to talk to your child, especially about difficult issues. For example . . .
One study found that young people who are close to their parents and feel supported by them are more likely to abstain from sex, wait until they are older before having sex for the first time, have fewer sexual partners, and use contraception more consistently.²
It's important to set expectations for your child. For example . . .
Another study found that when parents expressed their disapproval of alcohol use, their children were less likely to drink and spent less time with friends who drank alcohol.³ In a national report analyzing trends in teen behavior and the role of parents' involvement in their teenager's lives, data showed that parental involvement is a major influence that helps teens avoid risks while increasing their educational achievement.**
You Can Do It!
You can talk to your child and be a positive influence on his or her decision making. The studies highlighted above are just a few of many that show how important parents really are. The links in the bar to the left can help you to start conversations with your student about sexual decision making and personal safety.*American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment:
¹DiIorino, C., Kelley, M., and Hockenberry-Eaton, M. (1999). Communication about sexual issues: Mothers, fathers, and friends, Journal of Adolescent Health; 24:181–189
²Miller, B. (1998). Families matter: A research synthesis of family influences on adolescent pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
³Nash, S.G., McQueen, A., Bray, J.H.(2005). Pathways to adolescent alcohol use: family environment, peer influence, and parental expectations Journal of Adolescent Health, 37, 1, 19–28, United States
**Council of Economic Advisors (2000). Teens and their parents in the 21st century: An examination of trends in teen behavior and the role of parental involvement. Washington, DC: Council of Economic Advisors.