We were honored to be able to spend some time talking with Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, about her new book The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Jessica’s new book weaves together her personal story about addiction with a tremendous amount of information about topics such as brain development, drinking culture, substance use disorder, and ways both parents and schools can approach this sensitive topic. The book contains suggestions and scripts for conversations with your kids from pre-school through elementary, middle and high school as well as college. With this book, parents will be armed with the information they need to talk to their kids about alcohol and drugs.
The year 2020 is finally in the rear-view mirror. There’s still a pandemic, and there’s still a lot of turmoil in our world, but somehow we need to find hope in the new year. 2021 will be better. We need to believe that.
Somehow, it seems more difficult this year to think about New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all just been hanging on – trying to survive. That seems enough for this year. Survive the present, look to the future, believe things will get better – and don’t try to challenge yourself too much.
But it is a new year, after all, and that brings with it not just hope for a better year, but a challenge to make it a better year.
We’ve offered some New Year’s resolutions, or thoughts, each year since College Parent Central began. So this year, I’ve gone back to reread them, which was an interesting reflective exercise on its own. (Click on the year’s date if you’d like to see the full list for some extra inspiration.) But I’ve selected just one resolution from each year to share here. The choice wasn’t always easy, but I tried to pull one thing that seems relevant to where we are today.
Take these as a start for your own reflections. You may be inspired to make some resolutions of your own, or you may just opt for survival this year. But I hope these provide a way for you to think about your college student (or almost college student) and about your parenting role in the new year.
Happy, Healthy, Safe New Year!
As we offer our year-in-review each year, I often say this is the time of year when we can’t decide whether to look backwards at the year that is just ending or to look ahead at the year about to begin. This year, there is no contest. We’re all looking ahead to the future, to 2021, and to the hope for a better year for everyone.
2020 has been one of the most difficult years that most of us have ever faced. Some individuals have certainly faced tragedy of many kinds at other times in the past, but this year was tragic, frightening, and devastating in so many ways for so many of us.
Still, even with our focus clinging to the hope for a better 2021, we’d like to take a brief look at 2020 at College Parent Central. We’ve survived. We’re tremendously grateful for health. We’ve done what we can to reach out to help parents help their students through these difficult days.
The year of COVID
The COVID virus derailed everyone’s plans this year. We distanced, we stayed home, we worked remotely, we homeschooled, we learned to wear masks, we took up new hobbies, we baked sourdough, and we learned to cope with life – and death – in new ways.
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.
I work with first-year college students who have Learning Differences and ADHD at a small four-year liberal arts college. Every year I meet families and students making this transition who do not have a clear understanding on the differences in disability services and accommodations between secondary and postsecondary levels.
If you are the parent of a student with Learning Differences and you only have time to read one book about the shift from high school to college, please choose this book — From High School to College: Steps to Success for Students with Disabilities, by Elizabeth C. Hamblet. It covers the essential topics both you and your student need to know with clear insight, common sense, and wisdom.
Students and their parents focus a lot of energy on the process of getting into college. It is also essential to think about how students can use their college experiences to build a path to future success. In this interview, Vicki and Lynn talk with Lindy and Tom Schneider, authors of the book College Secrets of Highly Successful People and explore their tips for making the most of the opportunities college presents. They share some of the colorful stories of famous and not so famous people who have taken advantage of their college experiences to build successful careers. Tom and Lindy’s use of humor and real life, practical stories and suggestions make their book, and this podcast, especially enjoyable.
The more that college parents know and understand about the college experience, the less we worry and the better we will be able to help our students to succeed and thrive throughout their college career. However, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there on the web. We’d like to help you find some of the information that might be most interesting and useful to you as a college parent.
In News and Views we share recent college related news and sources we’ve found as we do our research. We hope that this feature will help to introduce you to new ideas and to help you keep up with some of the current issues that may affect your college student – and you.
We invite you to read some of the articles suggested below – and to let us know what you think of some of the ideas included here.
This is going to be a summer like no other. Most of us are masked, staying “socially distanced,” and trying to find what to do with ourselves as our favorite events and activities, gatherings, and in many cases, our jobs are cancelled, postponed or substantially changed.
For many college students, summer is usually a time to earn money or or to participate in internships to practice career skills. Since many of these activities may not be available this year, many students, and their families, may be at a loss.
This doesn’t have to be a lost summer
It’s definitely not “business as usual” this summer, but that doesn’t mean that your student is limited to binge watching sitcoms and texting their friends. For many students, this summer may afford them some wonderful time to tap into their creativity and/or just enjoy more leisure activities. It may give your student a welcome break.
However, you may also need to help your student understand that this doesn’t have to be a “lost summer.” Your student can move ahead and make sure that their return to school in the fall – in whatever form it takes – will go more smoothly.
Start by taking time to talk to your student about their feelings, fears and concerns and practice all of your listening skills. There’s a lot going on below the surface for a lot of us right now, and your student may welcome the opportunity to process their thoughts with someone.
Then consider offering some of these suggestions for things to do over the next few weeks. Everything won’t be right for everyone, but your student may find some items that make sense, will fill their time productively, and will move them ahead.
Whether you are doing your reading this summer on the beach or safely at home, it is always nice to have some new book suggestions. In this episode Lynn and Vicki share some of the college parenting books they have found helpful. These books offer parents support, encouragement, guidance and suggestions for all stages of the college parenting journey. Some of these books are for parents and some should definitely be shared with your students.
For those students who enter college intending to finish in four years, taking ownership of their progress is essential. However, not all students will be on the four year plan. Whatever timeline your student plans to follow, it is essential that they carefully track their progress toward the finish line. In this episode, Vicki and Lynn help parents understand what their student needs to know and do in order to complete college “on time.”
April 1st, April Fool’s Day, is a milestone day at College Parent Central. It’s our anniversary, or birthday, or blogiversary. We like to celebrate every year.
This year, as we all settle in at home in the midst of a pandemic, our celebration is more subdued. We don’t know what’s ahead and we don’t know how long it will last, but we know we’ll make it through together.
It was April Fool’s Day in 2009 that we launched College Parent Central. We didn’t know where it would go or how long it would last. Eleven years later we’ve reached more parents than we can count. We’ve started a podcast. We’ve launched our first e-book. We’re still advocating for college parents as a key part of student success. We have an important job to do.
If you’ve just discovered College Parent Central, we hope you’ll find information and support here to help you in your new role. Know that you are joining the nearly four million parents who have also visited College Parent Central over the years. We’re grateful for the many parents, educators, and counselors who have shared our information with others, who have provided helpful feedback, and who have taught us so much over the years.