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Teen Health 411

Book Review: The Launching Years (Part 2)

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Once your teen actually leaves for college, the authors of this wonderful book suggest that your relationship with him or her will likely improve, overnight!

Part 2 of this review focuses on what to expect the first year your teen is in college. I remember leaving my children at kindergarten for the first time, and driving away while they stand at the curb in front of their dorm sounds a little like that! (Ouch!)

This book will help you dry your eyes and move through your grief, or maybe joy that your teen is at college. Some parents are happy and some are devastated with their new "emptier nest," but the second half of this book 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, but the authors suggest you should be prepared for some hysterical phone calls, anyway! Chapter four has some great suggestions for handling what the authors call "the dump call," and for knowing when a situation may require that you step in.

Just a few hints - no matter how much you miss them, the correct response to a dump call is NOT "come home - who needs college anyway!" A better response is to listen, provide a little empathy, and let them move on, as the authors suggest they will. Another call you may get is "I need more money," and the correct response, unless you are very wealthy, is NOT "sure, how much shall I send." (I liked that advice!)

During this emotional time, like so many other life transitions, you might not just be dealing with the loss of your teen, your relationship with your spouse may need some extra attention, and if there are siblings at home, they may need some extra support, too! Go figure! Whatever your family is feeling in reaction to this transition, the authors have some great advice and include stories from families just like yours.

The Launching Years is a great book for parents of older teens and college-aged students - the strategies it provides are priceless, even for families in which teens do not leave home but stay at 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!

Photo credit: DanieVDM
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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