Book Review: How to Raise an Adult

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.  See our Resources and Tools page for suggestions.

Julie Lythcott-Haims’ new book How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success is required reading for college parents, but by then it is almost too late.  This book should be on the required list for parents of elementary, middle school and high school parents as well.  The sooner that parents begin to think about the issues that Lythcott-Haims raises, the easier it will be to break bad habits, and the fewer problems parents and their kids will face.

Julie Lythcott Haims presents her compelling questions early in the book: ”How does a parent travel from that place of wanting to utterly protect an infant to the place of letting them go out into the waiting world?”  This is the question we all face as parents — and the reason parents of young children should read this book early.  The author goes on to question, ”When we’re tempted to let our presence be what protects them, we need to ask, To what end?  How do we prevent and protect while teaching kids the skills they need?  How do we teach them to do it on their own?” This book helps parents explore the answers to these questions.

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Helicopter Parents Are Still Flying High

It’s not a new story.  But perhaps the story is that it is still a story.  We wrote our first post about the phenomenon of helicopter parenting on College Parent Central back in 2009 and it wasn’t a new concept then.  A lot of attention has been given to this parenting style over the past few years, but it appears that not much has changed.  However, with the release of a new book by Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Freshman Dean at Stanford, the issue of helicopter parenting — and its consequences — has gained visibility and has become news once again.  (Watch for our review of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success in a few weeks.)

Helicopter parents are such a staple these days that the term was admitted to the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2011.  This dictionary defines the term as ”a parent who is overly involved in the life of his/her child.”  It includes parents who are overprotective or show excessive interest in their child’s life, those who micromanage their children, who intervene in conflicts, solve children’s problems, and make important decisions for their child.  It often begins early and continues well through college — and beyond.

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Your College Senior: Preparing to Finish College

There’s a lot of focus on the transition for students from high school to college.  We know that students heading off to college face a whole new world.  But sometimes we underplay — or completely forget — that as students prepare to graduate from college, they are also entering a time of tremendous transition — and the whole new world of employment or graduate school.

As parents, we’ve worked throughout our student’s college career to loosen our grip, at least a little, and to recognize and celebrate our child’s growing independence and responsibility.  We know that the college senior year transition is our student’s transition to handle.  Hopefully, they will keep us informed of their progress along the way, but our role is (or at least should be) much less.  However, it helps to know what’s ahead and to be prepared.  Perhaps we can still do at least a little bit of nudging in the right direction.

We’ve collected a list of our posts that should be most helpful to parents of rising seniors.  Take a little time to read some of them and think about how you might help your student make the most of this final year — and prepare for the transition ahead.

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