Information for the parents of college students
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Book Review – Success and Sanity on the College Campus: A Guide for Parents

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.

This month we’re reviewing Success and Sanity on the College Campus: A Guide for Parents by Diana Trevouledes and Ingrid Grieger.  This is an important book for parents with students who are headed to or already in college.  Success and Sanity is a comprehensive book, covering many of the topics that we have covered on College Parent Central, and they are crucial topics for college parents.

Chapter 1 of the book helps parents understand “the basic framework for distinguishing between those situations that students should be encouraged to manage on their own and those that require parental intervention.”  This distinction between parental support and helicopter parenting is the basis for the successful parent/student relationship.  We think it is important that the book begins on this basic level so parents can understand their role before moving on.

Chapter 2 helps high school parents as their student prepares for college and works through the selection process.  This is the perfect opportunity for parents to begin to explore their new role and their new relationship with their child.

Chapters 3-5 of Success and Sanity deal with some of the harsh realities of life on campus.  Most parents may never need to know some of the information included here, but understanding today’s campus life, and having the information if the situation arises is important.  These chapters cover the transition to college with its changes and challenges as well as some tougher topics such as mental health, alcohol and drugs, sexual assault and harassment, campus violence, addictive behavior and substance abuse.

Parents who stop reading at chapter 5 will have a bleak picture of college and may opt to keep their student at home!  But fortunately, the authors continue in the final two chapters to acquaint parents with the services and resources available on most college campuses as well as strategies and approaches for promoting and maintaining wellness and success for their students.  The authors end by introducing parents to techniques for cultivating happiness and signature strengths, self-esteem, stress reduction, and self-responsibility.  A positive and hopeful note.

Parents who want a comprehensive and realistic picture of college life and what to expect for their college student should read Success and Sanity on the College Campus. 

About the authors:

Diana Trevouledes is a licensed clinical psychologist and social worker with more than 20 years of experience in a variety of mental health settings. She is on the faculty at St. Louis University – Madrid Campus in the departments of psychology and public health.

Ingrid Grieger is currently the director of the Iona College Counseling Center in New Rochelle, NY.  She has enjoyed a long career as a mental health professional in a number of settings, as an adjunct faculty member, and as a contributor to the professional literature and presenter on topics such as college student mental health, the transition to college, and crisis management on the college campus.

What the authors have to say about the book:

“As college and university counseling center counselors and directors, as faculty members and researchers, we have collectively been engaged with college students and with the campus community for several decades.  As such, we have had front-row seats to the escalating challenges that have emerged on the college campus, particularly over the last ten to fifteen years.  Further, our observations as campus insiders have been confirmed by the reported experiences of our colleagues across the country, by high-visibility campus tragedies, and by a wealth of empirical data.

Our purpose is to inform you about some of the realities of college life in order to empower you, as a parent, with information that will help you assist your child to his or her persistence to graduation.  Because your student is likely to turn to you for assistance, knowing how to effectively respond to your son or daughter in crisis is of paramount importance.

The purpose of this book is to help you do exactly that, as well as to guide your son or daughter through the more normal, developmental transitions to college life.

We know that, as a parent, you want your son or daughter to have the best, happiest, and most successful college experience possible.  In this book, we will provide the in-depth information you need, as well as the strategies you can use, to effectively assist your student in getting the most out of his or her college years.

The main thrust of this book [has been] to highlight the paramount importance of the role of parents in enhancing success and emotional wellness in their college student. . . We conclude by offering our most heartfelt wish and hope that you, the readers, will be among the very proud parents who have the enormous pleasure of watching their sone or daughter graduate from college as competent, resilient, intellectually curious, and optimistic youg adult.  We know that your contribution as a parent to your student’s success and emotional wellness will go a long way toward making the wish a reality.”

What others have to say about the book:

“I know of no other book that provides parents, students, educators, and guidance counselors with all the information they might need to preparefor the many challenges and rewards of life on today’s college campus.”

Michael Behar, MD, psychiatric consultant, Fordham University

                                   Coauthor, The Physician’s Desk Reference Guide to Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Health

Success and Sanity on the College Campus, by Trevouledes and Grieger, two highly experienced and competent campus professionals, is engaging, well researched, and provides real-world recommendations that parents can readily use.  I highly recommend this book to other parents as well as to high school counselors and teachers, college and university faculty, and other campus professionals.”

                                   Merle Keitel, PhD, professor, Fordham University Graduate School of Education

“Diana Trevouledes and Ingrid Grieger use clear, straightforward language in an honest and supportive way to provide parents with the information they seek and require.  This book ought to be required reading for parents who want to familiarize themselves with the social and emotional challenges that the college experience presents and who want to know how best to help their children navigate the college years.”

Marc Rehm, PhD, clinical psychologist and consultant

                                    The Rosemary Furman Counseling Center, Barnard College


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