Whether you have already spoken with your student on the above topics or are looking for ways to start a discussion in some of these areas, we hope you find the information offered informative and helpful in navigating what we know can be difficult conversations.
Throughout this page you will find guides, information and resources on specific content areas (alcohol, cannabis, sex, consent, dating and relationships). However, many of the tips given can be used in starting conversations on other topics or in other relationships. One major tool that we find effective in starting these conversations is the use of open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no” response. Open-ended questions allow your student the space to take the conversation where they feel most comfortable and encourages in-depth conversations between the two of you.
For example, if you ask your student the closed ended question “Are classes going well?”, your student will most likely interpret that you want their classes to be going well, so are more likely to answer with “yes”. If you ask, “How are classes going?”, you are more likely to receive an accurate and possibly more honest response.
|*Examples of Open-Ended Questions:||Examples of Closed-Ended Questions:|
|What have you noticed about your first semester at college so far?||Do you like your classes?|
|What have been some of your favorite experiences?||Are you getting along with your roommate?|
|What about college has been challenging?||Have your professors been nice to you?|
|What are you learning about in your _____ class?||Is the food good?|
You may want to start with questions that feel less sensitive, like asking them how classes are going, to lead into questions that require a bit more openness and disclosure from your student.