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 offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.
The Disintegrating Student: Struggling But Smart and Falling Apart . . . and How to Turn It Around by Dr. Jeanine Jannot is a book that will help any parent with a falling-apart student – or any parent who worries that their student might someday struggle. What Jannot recognizes, and explains so clearly for parents, is that many (most?) students will reach what Jannot calls a “rigor tipping point.” According to Jannot, “These students all had a history of outstanding academic achievement. . . And then, often without any apparent warning, some of the best and brightest of these conscientious, motivated kids seemed to fall apart, both academically and emotionally.”
It’s a simple concept, “As students encounter more (and significantly more difficult) schoolwork, they inevitably reach a point where they can no longer manage it easily. I call this the rigor tipping point. As grades begin to drop, negatively affecting their attitude and self-esteem, it creates a perfect storm of external and internal pressures, which causes some of the best and brightest students to fall apart.”
There it is. If parents knew only this, they would be better able to understand – and help – their struggling student.
But fortunately, Dr. Jannot does not leave us there. Jannot explains that she will give parents the practical tips they need to help their student be productive and well (and she includes 77 of them) but before she does that, it is essential for parents to understand the developmental, individual, cultural, and parental influences that affect how their child got there. It’s a couple of courses in psychology and sociology in simple language and practical terms. Once parents understand the background they’re ready to help.
In addition to the psychology and tips, another concept in the book with be helpful to all parents (and teachers, too) and it is that, “when disintegrating students start to struggle academically, they will go to great lengths to maintain the well-kept secret that they need help.” The Disintegrating Student will help parents learn to be detectives to discover their student’s difficulties earlier and help them find help sooner.
Whether you have a young student or a college-aged student, The Disintegrating Student will be helpful. Students can reach their “rigor tipping point” at any time. Don’t wait until then to read this book. Being prepared will help you provide help sooner.
About the author:
Jeanine Jannot, Ph.D. has over twenty-five years of experience working with children, teenagers, and young adults in both public and private school settings spanning preschool through college. She has a master’s degree in school psychology and a doctorate in child and developmental psychology. She is the founder of The Balanced Student and The Balanced U, and an instructor at Georgia State University. She is committed to identifying the root causes of issues that may be holding students back, and customizing strategies to achieve success – with an emphasis on physical and mental wellness, and how parents can provide the support necessary. Jeanine lives in Milton, Georgia with her husband and their youngest daughter.
What the author has to say about the book:
“I wrote The Disintegrating Student: Struggling But Smart, Falling Apart, & How to Turn It Around to provide an updated roadmap to navigate the daunting journey through today’s high-stakes, high-stress education experience.
Many students who are struggling academically feel that their parents don’t understand or don’t care about what they are going through. As a parent myself, I find this frustrating and disheartening. While it’s true that parents may not understand everything that is happening, in my experience most parents care more than their children will ever know. . . So if you take away only one thing from this book, I hope it is this: The very fact that you are working so hard to help your child makes you a great parent.
Before we talk about practical strategies, I want to help you understand the phenomenon of the disintegrating student, including the physical, developmental, and cultural forces that lead previously stellar students to fall apart, and the parenting styles and struggles that can contribute to it. . . Understanding why our supersmart students fall apart is critical to understanding how to help them.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly what to do. In my experience there isn’t one sure-fire approach that works for every student or family. Every disintegrating student is different, and what will work best for your child depends on your child’s (and your) individual strengths and challenges.
While I can’t give you a simple answer, I will help you find the answers you need.”
What others have to say about the book:
“The Disintegrating Student is the most digestible book for modern parents I’ve found. It merges research with real life in a way that feels actionable. I finished it in a weekend and felt like I had the direction I needed to immediately be a better parent.”
Cindy Robinson, founder, The Kid Factory
“The Disintegrating Student will quickly become an essential guide for every student and parent working to survive and thrive in the current education environment.”
Carolyn Lambert, parent coach, Nathan’s Waypoint
“Bravo! Dr. Jannot has written an incredible resource for families who are truly struggling to navigate raising children in our fast-paced, highly demanding modern world. The Disintegrating Student provides practical tools and easy-to-understand tips guiding parents in how to reconnect with and develop essential executive functioning skills in their children. I am excited to be able to reference this to families I see in my private practice who struggle with these issues every day.”
Lisa Reid, LCSW, Essential Connections Counseling and Consulting
Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you and helps to support our work. We think it’s only fair to let you know that.