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WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO?


* Communicate with your son or daughter. You have the power to help them avoid trouble. You may need to be firm at times, but remember that your son or daughter is going through a transition. You can't cover every topic in one conversation; so talk to your daughter or son as often as possible.
* Make sure your child understands that you recognize them as young adults.
* Discuss the transition. Freshmen frequently make new friends quickly. Encourage this, but be prepared for your son or daughter to feel the sadness of separation from you. The sadness and grief they may feel initially is a normal and important part of the transition process. It will usually pass.
* Set high expectations for grades, class attendance and time management. If students are convinced that their parents expect solid academic work, they are more likely to pay attention to their studies. This is a good time to restate your family values and your expectations. Your son or daughter needs to know how to relate the values you have instilled in them to the choices they will have to make.
* Encourage students living on campus to remain on campus on weekends. This usually makes the transition to college life easier.
* Encourage your daughter or son to get involved in campus activities. This is a good reminder to students that that they are not alone.
* Make sure your son and daughter understands that it is easy to have fun at college without drinking, and encourage socializing without alcohol. Discuss the many on-campus opportunities and places -- clubs, organizations and the student center to meet new people.
* Encourage your daughter or son to take responsibility for their actions. Making choices and living with the consequences, whether good or bad, can be empowering.
* Encourage your son or daughter to reserve some time for solitude. This will give them time to reflect on the changes that they are experiencing.
* Encourage your son or daughter to take charge of their health, sleep, nutrition and sexuality and to find healthy ways to deal with the stressful changes at college. Remind them that exercise, volunteerism and talking with friends are all healthy and productive way to lessen the stress.
* Support from home is important, especially during the first few months of your child's transition to college. Students find calls, packages and e-mail critical in helping them stay in touch with family and friends. Your openness with your daughter or son about the ups and downs of college life will help him or her adjust to the university environment.