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A Higher Education: 8 Steps to Prepare Your Teen for College

Your kids got their acceptance letters; congrats! Now it's time to ensure they're ready to be on their own. Use our guide to nurture their growing independence in the months before they leave home.

By Alison Goldman

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Risky Business

Ideally, you've been discussing your values and expectations about alcohol, drugs, and sex since at least middle school, says Janet E. Taylor, MD, a psychiatrist and member of the Family Circle Health Advisory Board. Still, now's a good time to reiterate your guidelines. These talks may always be awkward—and that's okay, says Dr. Taylor. One thing that might help the conversation along is to share personal stories—perhaps the time you refused to use a fake ID or nursed a friend who'd had too much to drink. "When parents share their own experiences or their anxiety, it makes them a little more human to kids," says Dr. Taylor. Finally, remind your kid to save emergency contacts—the college health center and campus police—in his phone. Let him know that even though he'll be more independent, he can always call home, no matter how sticky his situation.

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