Help! Don't know what to say or do!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-11-2012
Help! Don't know what to say or do!
10
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 12:55pm

I am in desperate need of some advice!  I have a 17 dd that will be going off to college next and still only be 17.  I recently found out that while she was visiting a friend at a nearby college, she attended a college party.  I also know that she was drinking and "made out" with several boys that same night. Too much alcohol = no inhibitions. I worry about her safety if that were to happen again.

A litlte background - she has never had a boyfriend, thinks that all the guys in our town are not her type.  Her only offical date at the age of 16 was going to prom.  She hangs with different groups of kids, and through our conversations tells us that she is the responsible one if there is any underage drinking going on.  She is very responsible at home, gets good grades, is never defiant - but has the usual ups and downs associated with just being a teenager.   She is a great girl and we have a great releationship.  She does have a curfew - and always comes home on time. 

But now I am concerned.  Since the party she has been "overly" excited about going off to college - she can't wait.  I have a gut feeling that she is starting to let her morals fly out the window.

We have always been honest with her and explained the dangers of drinking, drugs, sex - the whole nine yards.  But I feel that once she is in college - all of it went in one ear and out the other.  Is she just waiting to be rebellious?

So my question is - how (in a short amount of time) can we instill in her that her morals are what matters for life -  and doing the right thing - shouldn't stop once you're out of sight.  

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!   

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 1:49pm
Hi and welcome to the board. I'm sure your dd did other things on her college visit besides go to that one party. Her excitement probably stems from the whole experience. She's probably excited about starting the next chapter of her life, which is perfectly normal for a high school senior. It sounds like you've already had conversations with her and that she's a great girl with a good head on her shoulders. Keep having the conversations. But also be realistic. Instead of saying 'we expect you not to drink or have sex once you go off to college, period' discuss the safety issues if she does go to a party. 'Susie, you know we hope that you never touch another drop of alcohol til your 21st birthday. But if you choose to go to a party with drinking make SURE you keep your drink in your hand at all times so no one can put anything in it. It's also a good idea to go with a friend or a group and leave the party with the same group of girls. Realize that college parties often get busted and be prepared to pay for any fines out of your own money. If you party too much and your grades suffer your scholarship/student loans will be affected, etc. etc. etc.' As for sex - as an almost 18 year old going off to college I'd probably suggest you get her to the ob-gyn next summer and get her on birth control. NOT because you want her going out sleeping with everyone but because as you said - too much alcohol can lower the inhibitions. Plus by that age it's a good idea to have her first female exam.

My boys are now 22 and 25. 25yo went off as a newly 18 year old (June birthday). Did his share of partying and having fun on the weekend but worked hard during the week. He graduated from undergrad magna cum laude and is currently in his 2nd year of med school. Younger ds went off to school at 18 1/2, managed to handle it first semester but ended up flunking out 2nd semester (although there were other circumstances than just partying too much). Some kids go off to school and are able to resist and never go to a college party but in my experience the vast majority of kids at least give it a try or two. And the vast majority of THOSE kids, should they choose to continue the occasional partying, end up figuring out how to balance it all - that's part of becoming an adult.

Good luck and I'm sure you'll get other suggestions here. Hope to see you around more this year and also check out the Parents of College Students under the School and Learning section!
Pam
Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 2:00pm

You just got the best advice ever from a BTDT mom.

You cannot instill morals in the next few months if you haven't done it already - and it sounds like you have already tried and done your best.  So you can either decide she's not mature enough to go away and therefore you're going to keep her at home to postpone the potential rebellion, or you can have the sensible discussion that Pam just suggested and pray for the best.

My 17yo DD is even more excited about going to college since doing a couple of overnights at her prospective schools.  She's applying to huge universities in NYC and it could be enough to make my heart quail, except that she knows who she is, and that is an EXTREMELY responsible person (her friends have been calling her "Little Mother" for years).  She will not go crazy just because she's on her own, because that's not her personality.

OTOH I *did* go crazy because my parents were always harping about "morals" and I just couldn't wait to be free of it.  So be careful about preaching to your DD about morals and keep your conversations focused on safety and being able to do what she wants to do in life because she didn't suffer the consequences of being stupid.  It's *possible* that if my parents had focused more on safety and having a decent future, rather than screeching about my immorality, I might have listened to them a bit more.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 2:42pm

I agree with the others.  It has to be a combination of talking & also being realistic.  Yes she probably will try alcohol in college if she has the opportunity.  Hopefully she wont' overdo it.  I do know that when my Dd went to college they did have a presentation in the dorm also about the dangers of excess drinking.  I would focus on that.  I was happy that my Dd lived in a dorm so that if she happened to go to a frat party where there was drinking at least she'd be walking home & no one would be driving drunk.  Actually I happen to know that my DD started trying alcohol in high school.  I wasn't saying well that's great for you, but on the other hand, I just didn't want to be the police (which I know some parents would do) and be checking up on her all the time.  The big things was not to drive drunk & I know she didn't do that--sometimes I would suspect the reason why she had to sleep over a friend's house.  I didn't allow parties in my house but then right before college I went on vacation & instead of staying w/ her father she had some friends over & there was drinking--I was pretty mad about that one, but at least she had some common sense in that it was only a few people, not a wild party that would attract the police, and everyone slept over.  So I would focus on the danger part of it--that of binge drinking, alcohol poisoning that could lead to death, and being too drunk to even know if she is having sex--sorry to scare you on these things, but it's something she needs to be aware of.

As far as sex, I didn't decide to put my DD on b/c before she left--she never mentioned it and she didn't have a BF either.  Honestly I was not one of the parents who would say wait til you get married.  I didn't so why would I expect my kdis to?  I did want them to wait until they were in a relationship, not just be sleeping around.  I found out after the fact that my DD did sleep w/ a guy she knew from high school once after they went somewhere together.  Then junior year she did get a BF and asked me to make an appt. for her to be on b/c which I did.  I think that the fact that your DD has never had a BF unfortunately  makes her more naive.  So instead of just doing the "don't have sex" talk, talk about what makes a good relationship & maybe how some guys will say they love you just to have sex, so it's better to wait a while to make sure the guy does really like you.  Right now it seems like in many colleges there is a culture of "hooking up"--like you have sex first & then decide if you like the guy enough to go on a date--that still seems very backward to me and I think it makes for a group of young people who don't know how to have a relationship.

Well the good side of all this is that my DD graduated from college & is now working as a nurse.  The occasional partying didn't interfere with her studying or grades.  She has also been dating the same guy for 2 yrs now, although since they are long distance right now I don't know where it's going.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 4:24pm
musiclover12 wrote:

Honestly I was not one of the parents who would say wait til you get married.  I didn't so why would I expect my kdis to?  I did want them to wait until they were in a relationship, not just be sleeping around. 

Good point.  I started talking when my kids were quite young - like elementary school - about how girls can have babies on their own but it's a LOT of work and it's best to have two people to do it together.  And a little later on, about how hard it was for two friends of mine who dropped out of college to have babies, even though they married their boyfriends.  And further on, that having sex outside a real relationship is harmful because you can't count on that person if you do get pregnant.  And most of all, we've tried to instill a strong sense of self and self-respect in each of our kids so that they don't try to seek approval through sex.

I don't think I've ever said, "Don't have sex before marriage."  They know what our religion teaches, but they've also figured out that DH & I lived together before marriage (we were together for 7 years before our wedding).  We've had lots of discussions about sex based on TV shows - though now that I think of it, any time I've said, "That's not realistic" about sexual situations, they've all groaned, "WE KNOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW" LOL!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 4:44pm
Lol ok I'm guilty of approaching the early birds and bees talk as 'when a man and woman fall in love and get married...' I did modify it by the time they were 10 or 11 but I did my best to plant that seed!
Pam
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 8:12pm

OH Pam, I did more than try to plant the seed.  lol  When my kids' stepsister had a baby w/o being married (at least she was in her 20's and not high school and is engaged to the dad now 3 yrs later) my son's response was "well don't most people have a baby before being married?"  I was like "NO! We want you to go to college, get a job, get married & then have a baby."  Of course things don't always work out that way but we try to steer them in that direction.  I don't criticize people who tell their kids not to have sex before marriage, esp for religious reasons, but sometimes if that's all you say, the kids just figure you are so old fashioned & don't know what you are talking about, so they don't listen.  I think it's good to give specific scenarios.  My son & I used to watch that horrible show The Secret Life of the American Teenager when it first came out about the pregnant 15 yr old & I'd be saying to him "look what happened to her." and then "If you get a girl pregnant you won't have a choice about whether she keeps the baby, you'll have to pay child support, etc."  Well now that DS has come out to us as gay (another story) my ex's reaction was "well at least we don't have to worry about him getting a girl pregnant any more."  Yeah, just another whole set of issues.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 10:33pm

<<<Yeah, just another whole set of issues.>>>  That's for sure.  First up--Condoms EVERY way, every time, the WHOLE time.  In addition to the usual STD's, oral and **** cancer from HPV is on the rise, and the plague is still very much with us.  And even tho pregnancy isn't an issue, promiscuity is STILL a bad idea!  If you think he's mature enough, get him a copy of "And the Band Played On" by Randy Shilts.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-28-2012
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 12:38pm

FIrst of all, I'm glad you are concerned for your daughter's health, safety, and well-being.  It shows that you do have her best interests in mind, which is great.  Too many parents encourage or are ambivalent towards these kinds of behaviors, and that isn't necessarily the best approach.

However, I do have a few things to suggest.  I think it might be a little drastic to assume that she is only excited to go to college because of the drinking/parties.  Perhaps she had other experiences while visiting her friend that were positive for her.  It could be that she liked the freedom of her time there, the new people she got to meet, the excitement and energy of being on a college campus, or just hearing from her friend about their experiences so far.  I wouldn't assume the alcohol and boys are the sole reason for her excitement.

I also want to suggest that you talk to her in factual ways about drinking and sexual relationships.  Using scare tactics and talking about how horrible and dangerous these things are does not work effectively.  Present her with the facts.  Say things like, "We really hope you choose not to drink underage, not only because it is illegal, but because it can be dangerous.  However, if you do choose to drink, do not consume more than two drinks at a time, stay with your group of friends, carry your drink with you at all times, don't go off with a boy alone, etc."  There are safe ways to drink (even though it's still illegal), and many college students have no clue.

With sexual relationships, again, I encourage you to present her with the facts.  "We encourage you to wait to have sex until you're in a committed and safe relationship.  However, if you choose to engage in sexual activity, please be safe about it.  Ask for consent, and make sure you give consent.  Use condoms, or let us know so we can help you get on birth control."  Since she hasn't ever had a boyfriend, chances are, these topics are of interest to her, but they can be intimidating as well.  Make sure you give her a safe space to ask questions, and don't scare her about sex!

Giving your daughter plenty of information and support will be so much more helpful in the long run than just scaring her away from things that she is almost guaranteed to encounter in the next couple of years.  Continue to have conversations with her about why she's excited about going to college, too!  It is such an exciting time for young people, and to be able to talk about it and have parental support is crucial!

Good luck :smileyhappy:

 

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Fri, 10-12-2012 - 1:24pm
My dd is a freshman in college this year. She too, never had a boyfriend, still does not, but has tons of guy friends. She has gone to a few parties, stayed a short time but said she left after people started getting "too stupid". I just keep telling her that the problem with your reputation is people want so much to only believe the worse. So, if they think you are fall down drunk, sleep around, a drug user, etc.... it is so hard to shake that. So, she has to behave in a way that will not allow her behavior to taint her reputation. It also helps that we attend church, so I forever say "we are not Lutheran just for the hour we sit in the pew".

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!