Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Open forum: The empty nest

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Open letter to parents:

Just because your child is graduating from high school, going off to college or moving into their own place, you still have a very important role in keeping your child safe and healthy, especially around alcohol and other drugs.

Your opinions still matter. Stay in touch, talk, and listen.

Remind your child that they don’t have to drink or use drugs to have fun.

Avoid making assumptions and judgments.

Ask about their social life, not just about academics or their job.

Give them space to make their own decisions, yet with guidance.

If you suspect a problem, get help immediately: college student services, local counseling agencies, or your personal physician.

Remember you still have a very important role in helping your child to be safe and healthy.

Meg Baker, Wheaton

The writer is coordinator of Drawing the Line on Under 21 Alcohol Use, a countywide prevention initiative.