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College: A Dangerous Place?

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Guest blogger Rabbi Sherre Hirsch: Who knew that the most dangerous place you might send your kid this year could be college? As the first day of school is almost here, many mothers are getting ready to drop their kids off at school. Turns out going to Bed, Bath and Beyond is not enough.

A recent study shows that boys in college are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior--like excessive drinking and theft--than non-college-attending boys. In addition, kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crimes. The reason seems to be that college enables our sons to extend their adolescence--but this time with little supervision. 

How do we as mothers strike a balance between protecting our sons and letting go? How do we prepare our sons to avoid this behavior? 

Start talking to your sons early on.
As a mother of three and a rabbi, I often defer to my husband to have the difficult talks with my son. But our sons need to hear from us as well. Remember, age appropriate conversations are essential. 

Listen to your sons. Give your sons your emotional ear. They may feel fears and pressures that you are not even aware of.

Remind yourself that there is a difference between drinking and excessive drinking.
When your child tells you that he had a drink at a party the night before, don't be the first to condemn him. College is a place where kids explore their boundaries.  But in that moment, you can remind them that there are boundaries.

Teach your kids that while God cares for each and every one of them individually, God is counting on them to be safe.

next: Tweens Love Blood and Gore
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
jessie August 10, 2008, 3:59 PM

Another idea…coming from a college student…is to have these “conversations” with your kid BEFORE they go off to college. High School can be a scary place when it comes to drinking and drugs and kids are much more likely to feel pressured at a younger age. If your son/daughter never experimented in HS then the chances of them being overrun by the college party atmosphere, in my opinion, are higher. Sometimes the freedom of College goes to kids’ heads. Be more open to your kids earlier on, let them tell you they might have participated in underage drinking in high school. You don’t have to condone it, but too tight a leash strangles and when your kid suddenly sees college as that breath of fresh air…are they really going to want to stop breathing? I partied a lot in high school and my parents, while not condoning my behavior, were always there for me if I needed help. By the time I got to college, I was done partying, I’d learned my limits and I’ve been on the Dean’s List every quarter since starting. On the other hand, I have two very good friends whose parents never listened, constantly berated, and kept them on a leash so tight that by the time they got to College…it was all over. One is now a pizza delivery boy and the other joined the army and is going to Iraq in December…odd don’t you think? And they always said I would never amount to anything when we were all kids together…

megan August 11, 2008, 2:16 AM

hello what about your daughters? as a female college student i can tell you that it can be a really dangerous place for girls…and moms you should really start teaching your sons how to respect women before they leave your home.

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