“3 Rules I Made My Daughter Swear to Obey at College” — Do Any of Them Make Sense?

This piece, “The ndytrrkkrs
Three Rules I made My Daughter Swear to Obey in College,
” has been getting some attention in the mom-o-sphere. Rule #1:

1. Leave no-one behind

What the writer means is, when you go out with your friends to a bar or party, no one should get left behind.

That sounds pretty good to me — unless one of your friends lets you know that she wants to stay later than you, or go home with someone else. In that case, it doesn’t make any sense that you all have to stick together. This isn’t a field trip. Obviously you should help your companion if they’re drunk or you think they’re making a bad move. But your role is friend, not duena.

Worse, here’s how the rule ends: “No one goes to the restroom alone. No one steps outside to take a phone call alone. No one is left alone, period.”

No one goes to the bathroom alone? Didn’t we discuss this last week — regarding 5-year-olds?

2. Watch when your drink is poured, keep your hand over your drink at all times, never leave your drink unattended.

Boy, if I had only three rules to give my kid, I wouldn’t waste one on this.

The reason the writer does is because, “It is very easy to slip something into someone’s drink.” Which is true. But the idea that men commonly spike unattended drinks with date rape drugs is not. Here’s what The Guardian said, in a long article titled “Alcohol is By Far the Most Dangerous ‘Date Rape’ Drug“:

Studies suggest public fears about drink spiking are unjustified…  A large analysis conducted in 2001 examined 3,303 cases of suspected DFSA [drug-facilitated sexual assault] in the US. The results suggested public fears about drink spiking were unjustified, with the authors stating that “detailed examination of the testing results does not support the contention that any single drug, apart from alcohol, can be particularly identified as a ‘date rape’ drug”.

The Guardian quoted similar findings from studies in England, Australia and Wales, concluding:

These studies strongly suggest that the media fixation on covert drink spiking with a pill or powder is misplaced, and that such acts are vanishingly rare. They show that it is alcohol we should be wary of.

I wish the “Three Rules” writer had said that. It’s an important point. But no. Anyway, here’s the last rule:

3. NEVER go anywhere alone after dark, PERIOD. I don’t care how close you live to the library, how close the dining hall is, that you really want to go to see your friends at another location, that you need cash from the ATM, or your friends are already out and you want to meet them. If you can’t find someone to go with you, you don’t go.

Maybe what the writer meant to say is NEVER leave the WOMB. If you can’t find someone to accompany you everywhere you go, in a crowd, with a flashlight, a drink tester and a taser, just crawl back in.

With your friends, that is. LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND.


Wise advice to college girl? “Never go anywhere alone after dark.”


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79 Responses to “3 Rules I Made My Daughter Swear to Obey at College” — Do Any of Them Make Sense?

  1. Pekoponian July 5, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    She would be in apoplexy if she were my mother. I go out alone after dark all the time.

  2. London Girl July 5, 2017 at 8:30 am #

    I assume she doesn’t live in Scotland where it gets dark at 3pm in December!

  3. Beth July 5, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    Even here in the upper Midwest it can be fully dark by 4:30pm in the winter. College students shutting themselves in at that early hour, just because they can’t find a friend who also needs to go to the library, study group, etc., is ridiculous.

  4. David July 5, 2017 at 9:14 am #

    I heard that in northern Alaska, above the Arctic Circle, it stays dark for 6 months

  5. BL July 5, 2017 at 9:16 am #

    In what war zone is this daughter attending college?

  6. Emily July 5, 2017 at 9:17 am #

    Yeah, no. I’m a raging introvert and I didn’t follow any of these rules when I was in university, and I’m still alive to tell the tale.

  7. SteveS July 5, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    I think that many people are clueless as to potential danger, but this advice is way overboard and unnecessary. It also does little to prepare you for the real world where you may be called on to do things like to out after dark.

  8. Crazy Cat Lady July 5, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Go no place after dark? Isn’t that why they have street lights? Better idea….how about this apparently really worried mother get her daughter some self defense training and a can of spray? As others have said, I have lived in a college town where the sun sets at 4:00 and doesn’t rise until after 8. Is the dinning hall even open that early?

    And…well, doesn’t the go no place after dark take care of 90% of party related advice, because if you go no place after dark, you can only attend parties in your own dorm?

  9. K July 5, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    I wonder which of these rules she’d give her son. The only person I knew in college to be attacked after dark (or at all, for that matter) was a male friend who was mugged.

  10. Another Katie July 5, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    Laughable – I went to college in New England where it’s dark by 5 PM in the winter. I had to walk halfway across campus to get to the library, the bookstore, or the buildings where most of my classes were held. I likely wouldn’t have been able to find someone who I knew who happened to be going to the same place at the same time. As young adults on a campus in a rural setting, insisting on a “buddy” system to go anywhere after dark would have rapidly made me a very unpopular person.

    My safety precautions: I stayed within visual range of the emergency call boxes for the campus police, I tried to keep to well-lit and well-traveled paths for as much a walk as possible, and I stayed aware of my surroundings/those around me. When there wasn’t snow on the ground, I’d ride my bike to save time (and to present less of a potential target). At parties I kept my drink in my hand but that was more to avoid getting drinks mixed up with others’ than to avoid getting roofied (which never happened to anyone I knew anyways). I also didn’t party with people I didn’t know.

  11. Kimberly July 5, 2017 at 9:41 am #

    My family has a rule similar to #1. We don’t leave one person behind at our wildlife refuge at night. The kids called us on it, and we realized how antiquated it was. It came from when we were kids in the 70’s. Back then the nearest neighbors with a phone were several miles away down a dirt road then a poorly lit Farm To Market road. Our place had no phone, and no-one had mobile phones.

    Now the neighbors are so close our phones pick up their wifi (and they need to up their security before one of my hacker cousins does something as a prank).

    Still, we tend to leave a group because multiple sets of headlights on the 1/2 mile dirt track (doesn’t even qualify a dirt road) tend to scare off the deer and coyotes.

  12. Mari Inshaw July 5, 2017 at 9:41 am #

    Well this is another shackle the patriarchy is putting on women to hold them back…. Oh wait this could be a mom giving *bad* advice to their daughter.

    Did this mom even go to college?

    When I went we had a serial killer one semester. When my aunt went to her HBCU in the 60s the Klan burned her dorm, and neither one of us had these stupid rules. Maybe no drinking, because I was under aged and my aunt went to a Baptist college.

    Campuses can be dangerous, and at the several I’ve attended, they have some sort of night time escort system that no one uses.

    But seriously these rules just reinforce a female inferiority under the guise of safety.

  13. AmyP July 5, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Rape of young women while not overwhelmingly common is not the rarest thing in the world, so telling your daughter to be wary of their surroundings (as should everybody) is not bad advice, but this is overboard. The worst thing about this message in my opinion is that it places blame where blame is not due. If something bad happens to you, it’s not your fault because you didn’t follow these “rules.” Can we please stop teaching girls that they are “asking for it” and put the blame on the ones that commit crimes where it belongs?

  14. shdd July 5, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    I used to work in a city college library until midnight. I had either the fraternity brothers walk me home or campus security drive me home. Both were free. The fraternity brothers would ask me if I wanted to meet them in the “Usual place.” I walked myself to college basketball games it was dark before games 7 pm and after games 10 pm. Sometimes I walk home with fellow classmates but if I didn’t find anyone I didn’t call campus security.

  15. Meg July 5, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    The problems with this are so many it’s laughable.

    Gonna read this to my son in college, and suggest he follow these rules as well. I’m sure we will have a good laugh together.

  16. Lydia July 5, 2017 at 10:38 am #

    I’m told that 80% of campus sexual assault occurs when the person who is assaulted has been consuming alcohol. She shouldn’t be worried about what’s put into her drink covertly; she should be worried about what’s put into her drink overtly.

  17. Workshop July 5, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    Misguided, although I understand the fear.

    A coworker of mine was at a bar with some friends of his. A guy gave one of the girls he was with a drink (as in, “hey, I bought you a drink, here.”). She didn’t want it, and my coworker, hating to see a good drink go to waste, drank it. He doesn’t remember the next several hours, until he woke up at home.

    Now, I understand not taking drinks from strangers. This appeared to be an acquaintance, and the girl had the right instinct to not imbibe. Whether or not that was because she really didn’t want it or there was a creepy vibe, I don’t know.

    As for not going anywhere alone after dark . . . well, that’s what concealed carry permits are for.

    Fear. It’s a great motivator, but it seriously distorts your vision.

  18. Lisa July 5, 2017 at 11:02 am #

    You know, I’m pretty free-range, but these don’t sound SO awful. I think not leaving a friend alone at a party is absolutely best practice. Does this apply when they go with a friend to another friend’s apartment where there’s a small gathering of people they all know? Probably not. Heading to a frat party where there are 100 people you don’t know? Yeah, be safe. Even better – at least one trusted person should be sober. Not only while driving – in general, having SOMEONE around whose judgement is not impaired is a good idea.
    As for the drink – I know slipping drugs in drinks is not all that common, but I DO think it’s best not to leave your drink unattended around people you don’t know. I also think that a teen who went to school with the same people for a decade might not really get the different level of caution when meeting new crowds of people for the first time.
    Not sure about the walking after dark. I will say that at 38 years old, I still feel different if I need to be out alone after dark – parking closer to places, staying more alert while walking. There are places I *wouldn’t* go alone at night. And thinking back, in college, we generally traveled in packs at night – not because of any rule but because I guess it just felt safer to us. Maybe it’s okay when college kids do it, but not when their parents tell them to?

  19. Jessica July 5, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    I’d rather die than have a friend babysit me in the bathroom.

  20. Artyom July 5, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    Black Hawk Down, anyone? “No one gets left behind”
    Also, since when are plebes worth anything?
    I don’t think we should take random articles so seriously.

  21. James Pollock July 5, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    Coincidentally, my daughter just graduated from college last month.

    She moved away to university at 17, after having started locally at the community college at 16.

    We talked about the risks… which are real… that young women in college towns face. While stranger rapes and abductions are rare, they more frequent in “college towns”.
    The far more likely dangers revolve around alcohol. Men who drink too much are more likely to rape, and women who drink too much are more likely to be raped. So caution is due, leading to advice similar to rule #1 above (the whole rule).

    I agree that alcohol is the most dangerous thing in the cup, but keeping control of the cup remains a necessity.
    One of the tricks is to never let a girl’s drink get empty… this can cause her to drink more than she intended to.and become more impaired than she intended to.

    Rule #3 is dumb.stranger/abduction rapes are rare, but not nonexistent, however, they are more common in college towns because if you wanted to abduct and rape a young woman, college towns have lots of them. This type of rape, however, happen because you are ALONE, not because you are OUTSIDE.

    The main danger is inexperience with alcohol combined with the tendency in college to over-consume. The dangers of overconsumption include rape, but also car accidents (meaning being a pedestrian is more dangerous, say, after home football games but on Saturday nights in general the prudent pedestrian keeps a close eye on the traffic) and scheduling conflicts with school assignments (because many students are getting their first taste of real freedom when they move away to university, many struggle to balance work and school responsibilities with recreational activities.)

    The other rape danger is that young men and women of college age are often still learning how to negotiate the tricky world of mating behavior… how to identify possible partners and pursue them. Yes, many of them have started this before, but the first significant freedom mentioned above plays a part, and the fact that they’ve started doesn’t mean they’ve mastered it by the time they move away to college.

  22. Theresa Hall July 5, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    I agree with James. Even if date rape drugs are rarely used a little caution never hurt. Drunk girls get raped the most. And sadly if you’re on your way to a great career you might get a light punishment for raping someone.

  23. Abigail July 5, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    The spiked drink thing was also overly emphasized to me. I passed out from dehydration at a concert after getting turned away requesting some at the bar (I wasn’t 21 and wasn’t allowed at the bar). When I regained consciousness a couple of guys presented a red solo cup of water to me, recognizing me from my attempt to hydrate just moments earlier.

    I slipped back out of conciousness again because I wouldn’t take an open container from a stranger.

    I did finally accept their help. It was in fact water. I walked away and found my friends who drove me home.

    There are innumerable risks for our children – and training our kids to follow blanket rules rather than think critically and analyze risks is a risk itself!!

    Unless it’s a blanket rule to stay hydrated. That’s ok 😉

  24. SanityAnyone? July 5, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    I’d say to keep yourself out of high risk situations. 1) Drink responsibly/lightly so you are always in command of yourself and don’t take drugs. 2) Don’t go into a private room with someone if either one of you are drunk unless they are a close friends who you trust. You can quickly be in a difficult, high pressure situation. 3) Do practice the buddy system or use campus security if traveling at night in low populated areas, especially on a city campus.

  25. John B. July 5, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Campus life can probably be much more dangerous for females than it is for males (Many more girls get raped and sexually assaulted on campus than boys) but it’s certainly not on the same dangerous level as living in Fallujah, Iraq back in 2004 was!

    There is no reason why a college aged female cannot take a solo walk on campus after dark. Otherwise, you just allow the bad people of society to dictate your life. You cannot expect people to live in a cocoon just because there might be a few perverts out there with no self-control.

  26. Elisabeth Hensley July 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    My oldest is going off to college this year. She’s going to college on a large, wooded campus with lots of trails along with a couple of fairly busy car-occupied roads that bisect parts of the campus. I’ve been thinking that the 3 rules to live by are:

    1) Have a plan that will help you find “balance” between your academic, psychological and physical needs and do your best to stick to it.

    2) Walk smart: When you’re walking around alone, day or night, keep one ear uncovered (i.e., no earphones) and stop watching that damned screen! (I’ll try not to sound so shrill when I say this.)

    3) Treat your roommates with warm respect: set some norms for communication and space-sharing and stick to them; have each other’s back and make sure they have our phone numbers in case of emergency.

  27. Anna July 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    To me the worst thing about these three rules is that they instruct the young woman to obsess about rape, as if avoiding being raped is the whole meaning of life. Rape is terrible, but centering your whole life on fear of rape seems, if anything, even worse.

  28. lightbright July 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Anyone who was a young woman living in a western state, (or Florida), during the 1970s remembers the terror of Ted Bundy running loose, hunting around on college campuses, and leaving a trail of dead bodies behind him. Although we’re all probably more likely to be on a hijacked plane than fall prey to a sociopath like Bundy, parents succumbed to enough cognitive biases to ball-and-chain their daughters for generations to come. It wasn’t only Bundy, as news media gets its jollies from aggrandizing all sorts of morbid dangers.

    Another factor to consider is the widespread and pernicious infantilization of young adults. I’ve long said that while you and your teenager are college shopping, look at the student orientation programs and the student-life manuals for the dormitories! Some of them take an appallingly paternalistic view, treating young adults more as grade schoolers at Scout camp.

    The campus security blogs can also be amusing. This comes from Gonzaga, where my niece will soon be attending. http://blogs.gonzaga.edu/campo/

    “If you see someone you don’t recognize inside your residence hall, or maybe hanging around outside, call campus security immediately.”

    Right. Because at a university with an enrollment of 7572 students–along with all of visiting friends, family members, romantic interests, and someone from the dorm across campus coming over for a study group–you are expected to recognize . . . . everybody. Gotcha.

    I wouldn’t rule out a school based on this security blog alone, but it gives you a good feel for campus culture.

  29. Eric S July 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    Bad mental conditioning is bad mental conditioning, no matter the intent behind it.

  30. Free range kid, free range mom July 5, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    Laughable — because it is ‘friends’ or people she knows that will be the ones doing the sexual coercing, not a stranger jumping her when she goes out alone after dark.

  31. Sochii July 5, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    Maybe mom should move into the dorm with her…

  32. David N. Brown July 5, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    I have seen it pointed out in folklorists’ circles that “spiked drink” tales were common well before the discovery of any substance with the described effects. These stories also ignore the fact that alcohol is a solvent. I would say the closest precursor to the current anxieties was a cycle of especially crude and chauvinist rumors connected to “Spanish fly”. The transparent subtext is that women can’t be trusted or held accountable for their actions in the face of male wiles and newfangled science.

  33. A Reader July 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

    OK does anyone here also have kids who are obsessed with the movie Trolls? Mine are, and this immediately made me think of “No troll left behind!” lol.

    In all seriousness, my experience has been that the concerns with “after dark” are a suburban thing. I grew up in NYC and it never occurred to me and my parents or really anyone I knew that there was anything dangerous about being out an about alone after dark. And I was born in the late 80s, so it’s not like I grew up in a particularly free-range era. The only people I ever heard register concern about “after dark” were suburbanites.

  34. Helen Armstrong July 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Sochii, you might think this is a facetious suggestion but I work at a university, and I know of two different students whose parents moved the whole family to the city where they were going to be attending university. These unfortunate students never got the chance to experience living in residence, and in fact, one of the students has been quite handicapped by his mother’s overbearing, controlling ways. Very sad!

  35. bluebird of bitterness July 5, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    When I was a kid back in the ’60s-’70s, I was never allowed to go anywhere alone after dark — which as a practical matter meant that I was under virtual house arrest for several months of the year, when all my daylight hours were spent in school. It was a miserable life. If we had lived in a high crime area, it might have made sense, but we lived in a relatively prosperous suburb with very low crime. I shudder to think how crazy my parents would have been if we had lived somewhere less safe.

  36. Sarah July 5, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

    These really are so ridiculous. Never mind it plays into the stereotypical “rapist from the bushes” that is actually quite rare. I have taught self-defense for 20 years to women, men and children. The main “rule” is to trust your intuition. If your gut is telling you that something is “off” listen to it. There are no “rules” one should live by. Its like road safety, fire safety, its knowledge.

    And I agree with PP, why only for daughters? Yeah, we must promote the “damsel in distress” mentality. Uggh.

  37. elizabeth July 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    These rules are ridiculous. I remember the spiked drink fable from high school. I keep my drink on me because i dont like drinking after people i dont know, not because i believe people are slipping girls mollies like candy on halloween. As for going out after dark? I dont like it, but i will if i have to. I was never fond of going out after dark, which is why my curfew stayed the same from childhood to mid high school. If i had asked for a later curfew, my parents were reasonable enough that i couldve expected it with good behavior. This mom cant face that her baby grew up.

  38. lollipoplover July 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    Yeah, the rapists aren’t hiding in the dark or in the bathroom, they’re more likely upstairs at the frat house. The majority of rapes, the victim knows her assailant. Not a boogeyman in the bushes…

    I enjoyed walking home alone and in the dark on campus. Implying that her daughter needs an escort everywhere and cannot do any basic tasks alone is setting her up for a life of anxiety and self-esteem issues.

  39. Backroads July 5, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

    I think I agree with the spirit of the law on each of these, that law spirit being “Use some common sense and pay attention to your surroundings.” Always good.

    But I’d take that common sense statement into one rule.

  40. Theresa Hall July 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

    Abigail in your case I would say desperate times call for desperate measures. Your choice was risk a date rape drugs or be very sick because of dehydration neither is a picnic. I would choose the one doesn’t kill you which dehydration will.

  41. Heather July 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    These rules are totally unhelpful.

    For the first: sure, it’s useful to be aware of where your friends are, so you don’t head off en masse to a party and leave one person behind. But even if one peson happened to be in the loo when you left, if they know where you are going, it’s fine. Trust me, no group of tipsy students gets anywhere fast.

    The second would be more helpfully formulated as don’t take drinks from people you don’t know and trust. But it would be much better as know what, and how much, you have drunk. Or never try to keep up with people drinking rounds. Or intersperse alcoholic and soft drinks if you need or want to be hangover-free next day.

    The last is impossible to follow. I had lectures that finished after dark in winter. There is no sensible reformulation of that one. Maybe find trusted friends to walk you home if it’s late? But that requires a whole world of learning who to trust, which is often harder than just walking alone.


  42. MI Dawn July 5, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    Yeah, these are bad rules. What if your daughter gets a class that is only at night? Does she never go to class if none of her dorm mates are in it? How about the library? As also noted, the cafeteria (which may not be in her dorm), may not be open until 5 pm. That’s dark in the winter in New Jersey and Michigan. Does the girl not ever get dinner?

  43. Andrew July 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

    Er, how about one rule: “take reasonable care”. That extends to picking your friends, choosing when and where to go, and how much to drink, where to cross the road, etc.etc.

    It does not rule out being spontaneous, or sky diving, or contact sports, or sex, or anything at all ready. But, you know, spare a thought about consequences. You might go ahead anyway, but just engage brain first, please.

  44. Liz July 5, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    I gave my niece advise when she went to college, but only about partying, which included the cup rule. Again, only at a party, either in a dorm or a house or a bar, to only drink things she poured herself (or was poured by a bartender) and if she put a cup down and walked away, to abandon it and get another. And that was it. She goes to school in NYC and I would never, ever tell her not to go out by herself. That’s just insane.

  45. lollipoplover July 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

    My older sisters (49 and 55) had their drinks spiked with roofies at a local pub a few years ago! They had only ordered their second drink when both started slurring their words and realized something was not right. They dragged each other back to my sister’s house who lived nearby and one sister passed out on the dining table, breaking it! The teenage daughters came home and couldn’t wake them and just thought they were very, very drunk.
    And they followed all of the “rules” this mom laid out. Go figure.

  46. Alanna Mozzer July 5, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

    I wonder if she would have given the same three rules to a son.

  47. Crazy Cat Lady July 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Better advice: Make sure your dorm room door is locked before going to sleep. When my husband was in grad school, there were several very drunk people who attended parties (not students) who went door to door until they found an open door. One was female, at least one, maybe two were males who got raped.

    This stuff about after dark also means limiting when the student can take classes and participate in things like drama, musical recitals, some athletics and more.

  48. Bob Davis July 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

    My daughters went to college back in the 1980s. I don’t recall ever giving them “rules”, but they were (and are) sensible women who tend to avoid hazardous situations. Of course this was back before the “media” got so deeply into the “fear sells” mode, but it was also back before just about everyone carried a cell phone or other electronic communicator. Perhaps I’ve told you about the time my younger daughter was in college, and she and a friend got into her car to run some errands. She started the car, but made no move to put it in gear. The friend asked, “What are we waiting for?” “You haven’t fastened your seat belt.” Friend latches up belt and says “Oh, there’s an interlock.” And daughter points to her head and says, “Yes, right up here.” And kids learn this kind of safety consciousness by seeing parents practicing it, not by “Do as I say” rules.

  49. Beezuss July 5, 2017 at 10:33 pm #

    I’m confused…when will this college kid be drinking those drinks they have to hold their hands over? Sunny High-Noon?
    Oy…this Mom. She makes me tired.

  50. The other Mandy July 5, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

    I think the mom was on the right track, but was too absolute.

    I was in S America on a mission trip with a group of people from my school whom I did not know well. The faculty member was young, in fact younger than a few of the students and was dating one of my classmates (not on the trip). A group of about 10 of us went out to a bar. The faculty member was hitting on a waitress, which pissed me off as he was dating my friend. I wandered away from the table (but still in sight) and struck up a conversation with some local girls. Safe, right? Next afternoon I awoke in a strange man’s bed. He took me to the location of our mission project. I thought I’d blacked out and behaved promiscuously.

    Only later did I realize I was drugged and raped. Fortunately there were no injuries, or other nasty repercussions. The worst part of the whole ordeal was that I was punished by my group, because THEY thought I was slutting it up. I felt so betrayed by the people who I thought had my back. I’m still bitter 15 years later, but the assault is NBD.

    The point is, these things DO happen. I think if there are safety ground rules that’s enough– an actual conversation that’s along the lines of, what IS our plan for staying together? What IS our plan if someone wants to hook up? And for G-d’s sake, don’t ditch anyone!

  51. CK July 5, 2017 at 11:50 pm #

    What if one of the girls wants to go home with her boyfriend but can’t because they all agreed to leave together? This is just prudish.
    Also, the writer refers to these college students as “your child.” There you have it.

  52. sexhysteria July 6, 2017 at 1:23 am #

    There are some wacky formulas for date-rape drugs that are potentially fatal, nevermind leaving you vulnerable to sexual assault. But going to the restroom alone could be worse than death.

  53. Donald July 6, 2017 at 2:55 am #

    I don’t believe in the tooth fairy. I also don’t believe in the ‘backbone fairy’. There isn’t a magical age that people reach and suddenly become brave enough to deal with adult type problems. Self-esteem, self-reliance, and confidence is something that MUST be developed. People aren’t born with it like an opposable thumb nor are they awarded it when they reach a certain age.

  54. James Pollock July 6, 2017 at 3:15 am #

    “What if one of the girls wants to go home with her boyfriend but can’t because they all agreed to leave together? This is just prudish.”

    Well, since it is no longer 1958, the students verify that the one who wants to stay is sober enough to decide, and then they respect her decision. They are not necessarily all girls, BTW. The point is to not leave anyone behind in such an impaired state that they are incapable of looking after their own interests. Even if the rape risk is low, the risk of embarrassing mishap is considerably higher.

    The recommendation I made when my precious treasure moved away to college was to avoid becoming this impaired in the first place. I still think this is good advice. However, a good backup plan should be put in place BEFORE it’s needed. The plan made when everybody is impaired is… probably not a very good one.

  55. Silver Fang July 6, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    I went out alone after dark all the time at 18 and 19. Fun times.

  56. Donna July 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    “the students verify that the one who wants to stay is sober enough to decide, and then they respect her decision. They are not necessarily all girls, BTW. The point is to not leave anyone behind in such an impaired state that they are incapable of looking after their own interests.”

    The actual rules (which is all so outrageous that Lenore should have copied it in its entirety) is as follows:

    “Whoever you go out with, you stay with, and leave with – NO-ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND, PERIOD! There is no situation and no exception to this rule as far as I’m concerned. If five people go to a bar or party together, all five stay together and leave together. This is discussed and agreed to beforehand. No one person from the group is allowed to wander off to another area, out of the view of the group either, period! We can discuss a million different scenarios – I don’t care, you stay with who you went out with and no-one gets left behind. No one goes to the restroom alone. No one steps outside to take a phone call alone. No one is left alone, period.”

    So exactly where are you getting the idea that incapacity has anything to do with the point of this rule?

  57. Kirsten July 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    Might as well move to Saudi Arabia. Maybe she should have included something about women not being allowed to drive.

  58. James Pollock July 6, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    “The actual rules (which is all so outrageous that Lenore should have copied it in its entirety) is as follows:
    ‘Whoever you go out with, you stay with, and leave with – NO-ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND, PERIOD!'”

    The rules that mom and dad set for their adult children away at college and the rules said children actually follow may differ somewhat slightly.

    “So exactly where are you getting the idea that incapacity has anything to do with the point of this rule?”
    From “If five people go to a bar or party together…”
    Not… “if five people go anywhere together…”, but just specifically to “a bar or party”. What is it that a bar or party have in common, but are different from everything else? My mind jumped to the consumption of alcohol, you might have other connotations in mind. What is it about the consumption of alcohol that makes it so dangerous as to require a protective rule, though? Progressive liver damage? Weight gain from consumption of calories? No, those don’t seem to be the crux of it. Short-term impairment of mental acuity and physical coordination?
    Seems like simple logic to me. Where did you get lost?

  59. Kirsten July 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

    It’s funny. My parents didn’t give me any “rules” when I went to college. I don’t really even remember any advice. But I didn’t need it. I was pretty street savvy by then.

  60. BL July 6, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

    “The actual rules (which is all so outrageous that Lenore should have copied it in its entirety) is as follows:

    …No one person from the group is allowed to wander off to another area, out of the view of the group either, period!…”

    Outrageous is right. What if someone decides to “wander off” and won’t be deterred? Gang up and beat her senseless? Hold her at gunpoint? What? It’s easy enough to say “period!” without saying what might be necessary to enforce it.

  61. JL July 6, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    When I was in college, it was dark before I completed a class required for my major. The class was required every year and was always at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to leave class and return to my dorm with this silly rule. Maybe I’d just need to skip that important class, flunk out, and return home to Mommy.

  62. Paul July 6, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

    Notice these two key sentences that set the premise for the article in question. Tell me, can you notice and label cause&effect here? Their words, if not their awareness, seem to recognize what kind of children they are raising and why!

    Excerpt: “They’re eighteen-years-old and we’re sending them away from home, sometimes for the very first time. They are legally adults, but the part of their brain that can see around corners and spot potential dangers isn’t yet fully developed”

  63. Travis July 7, 2017 at 1:33 am #

    @Beth “fully dark by 4:30pm in the winter. College students shutting themselves in at that early hour, just because they can’t find a friend who also needs to go to the library, study group, etc., is ridiculous.”

    That’s not even taking into account that a lot of classes take place at night. Several of my college classes started at six and ended at nine, when it was most definitely dark. So I had to go to my class when it was getting dark (summer) or dark (winter), and then go back to at least leave my things. I didn’t live in campus, either so I had to take the (gasp) bus!

    @Lisa “I think not leaving a friend alone at a party is absolutely best practice. Does this apply when they go with a friend to another friend’s apartment where there’s a small gathering of people they all know? Probably not. Heading to a frat party where there are 100 people you don’t know? Yeah, be safe.”

    I understand having that rule in the way of “make sure everyone is where they want to be”. If you’re leaving, make sure you don’t forget anybody, but of course, what if you did go to a frat party or anywhere else and your friend, male or female, decided they wanted to stay? You’re not their owner. You can’t order them to come home with you. Maybe they want to party longer, or maybe they met someone and want to talk or maybe they’re all into one-night stands, who knows? They’re an adult, you’re an adult. If they’re not black out drunk you can’t just haul them home against their will.

    That said, I do agree with the second rule. And it’s not like it’s hard to follow. Go to the bar, ask for it, receive it, hold it in your hand until you’re done. It’s not like it’ll take a long time. If you have to go to the restroom you can leave it with a friend or just finish it before going. This one’s not that big of a deal, I think.

  64. Hazel July 7, 2017 at 2:18 am #


    As for not going anywhere alone after dark . . . well, that’s what concealed carry permits are for.

    Fear. It’s a great motivator, but it seriously distorts your vision.”

    Like yours, since you just advocated killing people and fondly imagine that a concealed weapon magically keeps you safe? (it doesn’t)

  65. joshua July 7, 2017 at 11:38 am #

    There should be three rules.

    1) Don’t do anything stupid.

    2) Learn what actually constitutes stupid.

    3) Since bad stuff will happen no matter how smart you are, don’t get down on yourself when you don’t know the difference.

  66. Papilio July 7, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

    CK: “Also, the writer refers to these college students as “your child.” There you have it”

    Uhm… It’s parents talking about their offspring. To my 93-year-old grandma, my 70-year-old aunt is still ‘her child’. Doesn’t mean she thinks a 70-year-old is a child.

  67. Claudia July 7, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

    Would she have told a *son* not to go out after dark?! I’m suspecting not, even though IIRC, young men are more likely to get caught up in violence at night than a woman is to be sexually assaulted by a random guy.

    I always get annoyed by the drink spiking thing, it is just the wrong advice to be giving, so it doesn’t keep anyone safe.

  68. SKL July 8, 2017 at 2:54 am #

    Yep, cray cray. I did a lot of walking after dark when I was in law school. Of course we didn’t have internet back then, so locking myself in from 4:30pm to 9am was not really an option ….

    I agree about the drink comments. Drinking alcohol is unwise if you aren’t sure how it affects your judgment / self-control. It’s also illegal for most undergraduate students in the US. So … know that if you choose to imbibe, you put yourself in a situation that could have negative consequences. Then make your choice, and don’t blame others for it.

    Plus, I think it would be ridiculous for all the women to walk around with hands over glasses at every party, I mean really? Miss Manners would have a heart attack. Just don’t drink alcohol – it’s easy.

  69. James Pollock July 8, 2017 at 4:14 am #

    ” Drinking alcohol is unwise if you aren’t sure how it affects your judgment / self-control. It’s also illegal for most undergraduate students in the US”

    Actually, it isn’t. A stereotypical undergraduate student has gone directly to university from high school, but, in reality, most undergraduate students are older. (Community colleges have far more students than do universities, and the ages in CC skew far older.) The difference is that the universities have almost exclusively full-time students, while CCs have way more part-time students.

  70. baby-paramedic July 8, 2017 at 9:16 am #

    Many of our classes finished at 8 or 10pm at night.
    Some of the students became very upset about this, because it was dark and therefore not safe.

    Keep in mind we were studying to be paramedics.

  71. James Pollock July 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    “Keep in mind we were studying to be paramedics”

    Does training to be a paramedic create some kind of a crime-free zone around you?
    When My ex-wife was studying similar topics at a local community college, this required her to go to the campus where these classes were taught, which was in the not-nice section of the city, where there was lots of gang activity and it was apparently not unusual for classes to be interrupted by the sound of gunfire on the streets nearby.

    The significant crime rate in the area around the campus and the fact that all of the required classes were taught at this one location caused her to decide not to pursue a degree in that field.

  72. Paula July 8, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    I wonder if there is a message boards for students where someone has written the post three rules I want to break as soon as I get to college!

  73. pentamom July 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    I think where rule #2 gets stupid is “have your hand over your drink at all times.” Seeing it be poured and never leaving it don’t actually cost anything in terms of time or convenience, so why not? But keeping your hand over it at all times is socially awkward and anti-social. If you find yourself in situations where a majority of the people you are interacting with might be spiking your drink, the solution is not to keep your hand over your drink, it’s to quit risky behavior with no redeeming value.

  74. James Pollock July 8, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    “But keeping your hand over it at all times is socially awkward and anti-social”

    If you’re in a crowded-enough event, you hold on to your cup because if you put down your cup, you won’t be able to find it again. So, you hold it with your hand across the top instead of around the side.

    This has the additional feature of providing an early warning when you’ve had enough. When you can’t hold the cup any more, it’s time to quit drinking.

    I gave up drinking about the time I turned 21, but I didn’t give up going to events where other people feel free to drink.

  75. s.f. July 9, 2017 at 7:14 pm #

    hello. i hope you realize, as someone who is in a similar situation to your child, that you’re only driving your child away from you. making them follow a strict set of rules will make them resent you, and they will likely break all of them. having rules is important, but imposing those absurd rules while they’re an adult is kind of baffling. i’ve grown to resent my parents for their very strict rules… they basically never let me live, and after getting out of their reach, it made me wild for a while. what im saying is that rules have a place. there’s something called moderation… it’s important when telling your kids what they can and cannot do.

  76. James July 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    “Leave no-one behind”

    As a college-aged person, we can assume their friends are adults. They can make their own choices about whether to stick with the group or not. I can’t count the number of times a friend broke off from the group while we were running around, because they met someone they wanted to get to know better. Several ended up marrying those people.

    To be fair, I have a rule like that. I and my peers instituted it while at a geology field trip where folks actively shot at us, and where “stalked by mountain lions” was considered an every-day occurrence. To treat going to class as the same as being under active fire in a wilderness is a TAD extreme!

    “Watch when your drink is poured, keep your hand over your drink at all times, never leave your drink unattended.”

    Not necessarily bad advice, but more because of expense than anything else. An unattended drink is prone to being spilled, and they aren’t cheap. That said, asking a friend to watch your drink while you use the local facilities is easy enough.

    “NEVER go anywhere alone after dark, PERIOD.”

    Screw that. I had classes that REQUIRED me to be out at night–astronomy, some geology labs (the joys of clay flocculation…), a few jobs running various analytical equipment, etc. To be fair, I did have a campus “cop” once demand to know what I was up to–I had gone to a 24-hour store on campus to purchase some Zero candy bars for my family, who I was going to visit that weekend. An odd errand at 3 am, yes, but, well, it’s college!

    My dad had one rule for me when I went to college: “If you can smoke it you’re generally okay. Stay away from the needles and pills.” After that, they treated me as an adult–my life, my education, my responsibility. I made some screwy choices, but was generally mature enough to not need this sort of terror-inducing hand-holding!!

  77. BMS July 10, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Oh for heaven’s sake. I have always lived in urban areas. If I had to have an entourage every time I left my room I never would have been able to graduate college. I used to be in the library in quiet corners all freaking night. Somehow, I didn’t get murdered. I went to parties alone, and left alone, and didn’t get date raped. I even (gasp) drank at a frat house! Without hovering over the keg to keep people from doctoring it! And two of the frat guys made sure I got home ok without ravishing me.

    Yes, I know college sexual assault is something to be aware of. I work on a college campus – I know that things happen. But as we have said numerous times on this site – men are not automatically predators, everyone is not out to get you, and most places are safer than you think. Most college campuses are pretty self contained, have campus police patrolling, and are well lit at night. I hope the person who got these rules nodded, smiled, and then ignored them.

  78. James K. July 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    James Pollock: A community college with older students and no dorms is probably not having “college parties” in the sense the mother here fears anyway. (Not that the students might not drink or engage in unwise actions on their own time, but the culture is completely different.)

  79. Hannah July 18, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

    Wow I’m in college and I go out alone at night all the time. People get busy, you can’t always find someone to go somewhere with you when you finally have time to do whatever errands you need to run.