Loyola University Chicago

Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution

Division of Student Development

Tips for Talking with Your Student

College is a time for your student to grow, often by making mistakes. The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) recognizes that having conversations with your student may not always be easy. Below you will find several tips for engaging in dialogue with your student, as well as suggested questions and prompts to facilitate these conversations.

Getting the Conversation Started

  • Often times, the most important part of this is making sure that the lines of communication remain open. Try to create shared expectations around communication style with your student.  Remain open to discussing difficult, sometimes uncomfortable topics like alcohol or drug use and intimate relationships.

  • When talking with your student, ask open-ended questions rather than making statements or judgments.  Remember that open-ended questions invite a more thoughtful response.

  • During conversations with your student, consider addressing how to balance maintaining safety while encouraging autonomy of your student.

Sample Questions/Prompts

  • Addressing the Transition to College

    • Let’s discuss _____.

    • Are you feeling at home and comfortable?

    • What does a “good” college experience look like for you?

    • What new experiences have you had?

    • What experiences might you have in the future?

  • Setting a Foundation for Future Planning

    • What are your academic, social, health, or spiritual goals for college?

    • What are your plans around drug and alcohol use?

    • How do you plan to remain safe?

    • Given that you’re concerned about ______, how have you dealt with this in the past?

  • Exploring Connections on Campus

    • Who have you connected with so far?

    • What are you involved with on campus?

    • Have you considered getting involved with _____?

    • Based on your interest in _____, what can you do to continue to nurture this?

    • Note: If your student is feeling disconnected from campus life, please reference our resources here.

Decision Making & Reflecting on Choices

  • Speak with your student about how to make their own personal decisions and the expectations you have for them.

  • Share how you make decisions and how your personal values inform your decisions.

  • When having difficult conversations, remind your student that your concerns come from a place of care.  Be sure to continue to support them emotionally.

  • Encourage your student to take responsibility for their role in what happened and to avoid blaming others for their choices.

  • Remember that your student may look to you are a role model when dealing with challenges and difficult choices.

  • The most up-to-date Community Standards, which contain the rules and policies for student behavior, can be found here.  Remember that your student is responsible for knowing the Community Standards and that not being familiar with the policies is not an acceptable excuse. Any questions about the Community Standards should be directed to OSCCR staff at OSCCR@luc.edu or (773) 508-8890.

Sample Questions/Prompts

  • Inviting Reflection

    • What was hard about ____?

    • What did you enjoy about ____?

    • How do you generally make decisions?

    • Tell me about what led you to make that decision.

    • What are some of the consequences of your choices?

  • Identifying Resources

    • Who can help you with this?

    • Have you tried to turn to ______?

    • Is there a faculty or staff member you can reach out to as a mentor? (Consider sharing your own experiences here, as well as encouraging your student to reach out.)

    • Note: Additional resources and opportunities may be available through the Division of Student Development.

Additional helpful information for parents and families can be found here. For further assistance, please reach out to OSCCR at (773) 508-8840 or OSCCR@luc.edu.