From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students. There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years. We’ve created lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Check out our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.
Launching: Parenting Your Child to College and Beyond is a brief, 50+ page handbook that should prove helpful for parents of teens and for those about to send a student off to college. The book is divided into two sections. The first section deals with the transition into adulthood and should be helpful to parents as they try to understand their child. The second section of the book deals with the parents’ transition to a new role as they deal with their changing child.
Much of the information in this book is not specifically related to college, but to understanding and dealing with teens and young adults. It may actually be most helpful to parents beginning earlier in the high school years. Parents who read this book will recognize their child in the many descriptions of the changes that happen during the teenage years. We especially like the suggestion on the part of the authors that parents may need to let their children attempt things and fail. The learning experience is important. “Remind yourself that the ultimate goal is to assist your young person in this important separation and individuation process. It may seem like he just keeps falling in the mud again and again, but don’t our most profound life lessons come with a little dirt on them?”
Perhaps one of the most meaningful chapters in the book for college parents is the chapter on Navigating the Letting Go Path. The authors suggest three primary tips which in one simple way seem to cover all of the important bases. They suggest 1) Resist the urge to control, 2) Confront your fears, and 3) Know that stress is normal. Parents who begin to deal with these three areas will be on their way toward mastering the transitional process.
Each brief chapter in this book is followed by an exercise or two for parents to try with their child. Readers will appreciate these practical suggestions. From going over the family budget with your child to help him understand money management, to making a list of time spent on technology, to relaxation breathing, to creating a plan of action, many of these exercises will provide insight.
Parents who read Launching: Parenting to College & Beyond will add to their repertoire of understanding and strategies for dealing with their teenagers’ issues and transitions, and will have strategies to help make the process go more smoothly.
About the Authors:
Barbara Rhode is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 25 years of clinical experience. She has presented workshops locally and nationally and is also a consultant for Military OneSource, providing clinical assessments and services to the military and their families. Barbara writes a monthly column for the St. Petersburg Times on a variety of relationship and wellness issues.
Annette Reiter is a licensed marriage and family therapist who manages a private practice in St. Petersburg, FL. She has coauthored two books on parenting, written several journal articles, a blog on Parenting, and has spoken at the National Conference of American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
What Others Have to Say About the Book:
“A practical and mindful approach to raising a teen, and a great guide to keeping the peace while helping them find their way. A must read for parents!”
Meg Higgs, Psychiatrist
“A helpful, practical approach, not only for parents but professionals working with youth. I highly recommend using this handbook as an ongoing resource.”
P. Sanchez Mills, Past Executive Director of National YWCA
“I am a social worker and yet, despite all my knowledge . . . I learned so much from them and felt so supported in what ended up being a far more emotional time for me than I had anticipated.”
C. M. Mental Health Professional and Parent