Parents & Teachers:
Book Review, "The Launching Years"
Full title: The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting From Senior Year to College Life
Written by: Laura Kastner & Jennifer Wyatt
Review By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D
The Launching Years is a must read for parents of juniors or seniors in high school, as well as parents of college-aged young adults. During this exciting period, parents find a variety of problems creeping into our families. These authors give suggestions for proactively launching your teens, rather than trying to keep up with these problems.
The only "issue" I had with the book is that it describes the college process and launching as occurring in the senior year. I disagree with this time frame. The launching process for college-bound youth really needs to begin in the junior year of high school. Pushing all of the college-preparation activities into senior year demands a crisis!
Apart from that, I think the authors did a great job identifying how important this phase of parenting is, and how little attention and support parents get during this challenging time. They offer suggestions for mitigating the stress associated with college applications, and what to do when college-bound teens suddenly get clingy, dependent, or rebellious.
Parents of younger teens can rest assured that there will be a college for your child. According to Kastner and Wyatt, there are more than 3,000 accredited colleges in the United States. Students with a C average can actually be admitted to more than 1,000 colleges, and B students can attend all but the top 200 schools.
The First Year at College
You just dropped your child off at their dorm. What now? Some parents are happy and some are devastated with their new "emptier nest." The second half of The Launching Years can help with whatever reaction you are having.
In theory, you have gotten them to college, they have everything they need, and the university is supposed to take over. There will be orientations, social events, resident assistants, dorm parents, counselors, advisers, and peer counselors to help with anything that goes wrong.
However, the authors urge you to be prepared for some hysterical phone calls. The authors have some great suggestions for handling what they call "the dump call." (Hint: listen, provide a little empathy, and let them move on.)
During this emotional time, you may find your relationship with your spouse needs some extra attention, and siblings at home may need some extra support, too.
The Launching Years is a great book for parents of older teens and college-aged students. The strategies it provides are priceless, even if your teen does not leave home for a few more years. Every family is different, but all teens have to start being responsible adults at about age 18, and this book can help.
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Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013