EARLY YEARS: Parents of college-bound student can help them navigate independence, make smart choices

“Students Against Destructive Decisions,” or SADD, helps promote safety for students of all ages
Students Against Destructive Decisions says teens need tools to handle peer pressure and new freedom
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:04 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Dropping your son or daughter off at college doesn’t mean your parenting journey is over.

But it does mean your children are now largely responsible for their own well-being.

“College safety starts with managing expectations. For years the parents and caring adults have been the guardians to set those expectations, and to make sure the homework is done, the school lunch is packed, the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. Now that a young person is venturing off on their own,” says Rick Birt, with SADD, or Students Against Destructive Decisions.

It is a national nonprofit dedicated to the safety and wellness of all students.

“We talk about making the next best decision. We know how tough it is to be young person today with the risks and pressures that can be around every twist and turn. So, we talk about how as a young person, you can make informed decisions,” says Birt.

Birt suggests asking your children how they’d handle different scenarios.

“Talking about how to handle peer pressure, talking about coping skills,” says Birt.

Birt also says it’s also crucial for college students to know how to help others make good choices.

“Everything from mobility issues, how do we get home if we’re impaired, how to we remind others not to be a distracted driver or a distracted pedestrian,” says Birt.

He adds it’s important for students to know how to recognize when they need help, making use of campus and community resources.

“The old proverb says “it takes a village to raise a child,” that doesn’t stop when it comes to our college age youth,” he says.