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Will your college student drink alcohol?

If you have children about to go off to college, you probably wonder if they will drink alcohol or lots of it. Even "good kids" do it. Drinking is part of the culture at many colleges, and no one likes to feel left out.

The odds are decent that your child will drink alcohol at least a few times. With that in mind, you can help stave off some of the consequences of drinking by planning proactively and talking honestly with your child. These potential consequences include DUI charges, low grades, health risks and falling behind in school, among other issues. Nothing to laugh about - a DUI conviction can follow your children around for life and hinder their employment prospects.

Encourage your children to explore alternatives to driving

Your children may end up driving after drinking even if they did not bring their cars to campus. Perhaps they are driving a friend's car, for example. Talk to your children about ways to get around without having to drive, such as Uber and public transportation. Offer to pay for transit cards in advance or for Uber rides if they ever become necessary.

If your children do have their cars on campus, take their cars and driving privileges away if anything concerning happens (assuming you are the one who owns the cars). For instance, if your children receive charges for DUI, they have no business driving a vehicle until the matter is over. A similar idea applies if their grades nosedive.

Urge your children to become involved on campus

Students who play sports and who join clubs do drink, sometimes to the level of hazing. That said, your children being active on campus may cut down on the level of drinking they would have done otherwise. For instance, if your children have early-morning practices or are on teams with low alcohol-tolerance limits, they may drink less.

Some young adults are less likely to drink excessively if they are involved in paying for their own college educations. You can require that your children work part-time to help pay, or in lieu of that, join sports teams, clubs or the like so that they are getting all they can from college and not partying 24/7.

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