College is an exciting environment full of new experiences and new relationships that will significantly shape the lives of students during these early years of adulthood. Away from the familiarity of home and family, we at Wake Forest University strive to create a safe and supportive environment for students as they forge ahead on these new paths; yet we understand that parents and caregivers also continue to hold an important and invaluable role in helping your students navigate life at college.

As you prepare your student for college life, it’s important to have conversations with your student about safe and healthy relationships and consent, just like you’re having conversations about the importance of academics!  We recognize that not everyone may feel comfortable broaching this topic with their student, so we have created a conversation guide to help parents and caregivers feel more equipped to start these important conversations.

Promoting Healthy Relationships

New relationships are essential to the college experience, and students will find many opportunities for making friends and dating. As they prepare to enter this new social world, now is a good time to talk with your student about how to develop healthy relationships with others.

The five keys to a healthy relationship are Respect, Learn, Empower, Consent, and Communicate. Helping your student understand how to cultivate these in all their relationships will give them the tools they need to create a positive campus culture.

  • Respect: Promote and model healthy attitudes and relationships; treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Learn: Access credible information and resources to promote your overall health; when you have a question, seek answers from a credible source.
  • Empower: Everyone has the right to set limits, feel safe, and get support; you deserve to be respected and listened to.
  • Consent: Seek mutual agreement without fear or pressure; ask for consent, and check in frequently to make sure consent is clear.
  • Communicate: Express yourself to partners, peers, and family; you can talk openly and honestly with people you trust. If you notice something is wrong, you can speak up.

We also encourage parents and caregivers to be aware of organizations that promote education around healthy relationship dynamics:  

Love is Respect

One Love

What’s OK?

Scarleteen – Focus on queer relationships

Black Love

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  • Mobile BlueLight: send your location to and call WFU PD simultaneously.
  • Friend Walk: sends your location in real-time to a friend so they can watch you as you walk to your destination!
  • Social Escape: allows you to get out of a tough social situation by calling you and giving you an excuse to leave.
  • We Are Wake: a comprehensive call to care for the mental health of all students. 
  • Campus Support Resources

Understand Consent

Consent is an essential element for healthy relationships and how to respect personal boundaries and the boundaries of others. Consent is important in many aspects of our daily lives, not just in sexual relationships, and it is a vital part of clear and honest communication.

Understanding consent helps students understand their own boundaries and communicate those boundaries clearly with others, as well as respecting others’ boundaries. Learn more about consent from our campus partner The Office of Wellbeing.

Supporting Your Student

Know Resources Available

Parents and caregivers should know what resources are available to their students in the event their student has questions about consent, interpersonal violence, dating/relationships, or a harm they have experiences. 

Learn more about our campus resources.

Learn more about our community and national resources.