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The Parental Impact: Why Family Conversations about Alcohol and Other Drugs Matter


The very first semester of any college student’s career brings about both exciting and daunting challenges and opportunities: a new routine, new peers to meet and bond with, new freedoms, and new responsibilities all within a few short months. Even more, the global COVID-19 pandemic has placed a magnifying glass on these experiences.

Research shows first-year students are at higher risks for substance use in their first semester of college. TCU’s Alcohol and Drug Education (ADE) Department, along with the Parent and Family Programs in Student Development Services (SDS) strongly value your commitment as family members to help educate and support students as they are making decisions about their own use of alcohol and other substances.

As the holiday season quickly approaches and your students find themselves transitioning back home for the break from classes, this upcoming winter break is a perfect opportunity to initiate (or continue) meaningful conversations about harmful consequences associated with alcohol use and misuse. Whether your student made healthy or not-so-healthy choices around alcohol this semester, talking with your student about alcohol will help influence healthier outcomes for the subsequent semesters.

You may recall Dr. Rob Turrisi’s webinar during Horned Frog Family Week in September.  The link to Dr. Turrisi’s presentation is included here.  In addition, we are happy to provide you with the booklet he referenced,  “A Parent Handbook for Talking with College Students About Alcohol.” This handbook is intended to help cultivate open and honest conversations between parents/guardians and their students. Talking with students about alcohol use can feel awkward or difficult, however, this handbook is designed to help you ease into the conversation comfortably.

The best to you, your student, and family during the upcoming holiday season!

Go Frogs!

Kay Higgins, Ph.D.                                                                                        Alicia Allen, MPH

Associate Dean, Student Development                                                Alcohol & Drug Education

Director, Parent & Family Programs                                                        Challenge of Tarrant County



TCU Parent Alcohol Handbook

TCU Parent Alcohol Handbook (another layout option, which might be better depending on your device)