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A Reading List for Parents

25 Ways to Make College Pay off: Advice for Anxious Parents from a Professor Who's Seen It All
Bill Coplin, 2007
In the next few years, parents can expect to spend more than $40,000 per year on their child's college tuition. While that number may seem frightening, it is not as grim as the statistics that predict their child's chances of actually finding a job after graduation. Only about 20% of employers believe college graduates are ready for the workforce, and only 40% of graduates will find a job that will ensure their financial independence. The good news is that with the right advice, parents can turn their pricey investment into one that truly yields a high return and a rewarding career for their son or daughter. Professor Coplin offers honest advice for parents who want their child's college experience to ensure future success- both financially and emotionally. (

133 Ways to Avoid Going Cuckoo When the Kids Fly the Nest: A Parent's Guide for Surviving Empty Nest Syndrome
Lauren Schaffer, Sandy Fleischl Wasserman; 2001
What's a parent to do when the kids leave home? Mixing humor with practical advice, Lauren Schaffer and Sandy Fleischl Wasserman's 133 Ways to Avoid Going Cuckoo When the Kids Fly the Nest is a good friend to laugh with, a shoulder to cry on, and a manual of sound advice to help those in need keep their sense of humor while riding the emotional roller coaster of Empty Nest Syndrome. (

Don't Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years
Helen E. Johnson, Christine Schelhas-Miller; 2003
Parenting a college-bound student is a tricky business--combining your emotional and financial support with your child's newfound independence can seem nearly impossible. Topics are addressed frankly, and many parents may have trouble reading the sections concerning controversial subjects such as drug and alcohol use, birth control, homosexuality, and changes in religious and political beliefs. The emphasis here is not on changing your kid's mind about any of these things, but rather how parents can approach these sensitive topics while maintaining a positive and honest relationship. (
Empty Nest ... Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College
Andrea Van Steenhouse; 2002
Van Steenhouse offers a lighthearted, yet savvy look, at this turbulent time through her generous and compassionate world view, making it lively, humorous, and emotionally resonant. She has interviewed hundreds of families making this difficult passage and includes their stories while providing her trademark sensibility for handling each stage of the emancipation journey -- the senior year in high school, moving through the summer after graduation, the final departure for college, and the freshman year.

I’ll Miss You Too: An Off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students
Margo E. Bane Woodacre, Steffany Bane; 2006
I'll Miss You Too, by mother-daughter team Margo E. Bane Woodacre and Steffany Bane, is unique in that it is written from both sides of the mother-daughter relationship, providing valuable insight into the issues that both parent and child face, including the 10 major traumas of empty nesters, (and their solutions!), tips for students making the transition in the "real world" , communication issues, and how to set healthy expectations, the most common problems of moving out and leaving home (for both parent and student), coming home for the first time, and much more. This poignant and oftentimes hilarious guidebook provides the kind of perspective that leads to understanding, and opens the door for meaningful discussion between parent and child.

The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior to College Life
Laura Kastner, Jennifer Fugett Wyatt; 2002
The Launching Years--a must-read for parents coping with the two-year transition from high school to college--is an insightful and lively tour of the bumpy road involving college applications, senioritis, freshman freedom, and parent/child separation anxiety. "Launching a child into college can feel as if it's one of our last hands-on parenting acts," explain authors Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt. The beauty of this book's approach is two-fold: First it opens a window onto the world of young people leaving home, exploring application procrastination, senioritis, college choice, ambivalence about independence, and freshman freak-outs. At the same time, it holds up a mirror to parents, to help them discover deeper truths about themselves with--and without--their children. For example, one section about college applications advises parents to consider the college decision as one involving their child's identity rather than their own and to make sure the college is a good match for the child.

Let the Journey Begin: A Parent's Monthly Guide to the College Experience
Jacqueline Mackay, Wanda Ingram; 2001
This brief text includes innovative features and activities to help parents deal with the issues they and their first-year children face during the freshman year of college. Let the Journey Begin highlights the ongoing process of adjustment and is structured in eight sections to reflect the school year cycle. Features of the text include student and parent reflection, guided journal entries, checklists, problems and solutions, and explanations of college terms.

Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, Fifth Edition
Karen Levin Coburn, Madge Lawrence Treeger; 2009
This bestselling guide, read by hundreds of thousands of parents over the past decade, is now better than ever, newly revised and completely updated. Based on real-life experience and recommended by colleges and universities around the country, Letting Go offers compassionate, practical, and up-to-the-minute information to help parents with the emotional and social changes of the college years.

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College
Harlan Cohen; 2009 (Revised edition)
Students work hard to get into college, but once on campus, few know what to expect…
According to the latest research, over one-third of first year college students report getting homesick; more than 40 percent report being too afraid to approach their professors; and just over 60 percent report experiencing some sort of depression (the percentage increases by junior year). Combine these with the reality that about 1 in 4 students do not return to the same campus their sophomore year and it's clear -- the first year isn't easy. Cohen asked over 1,000 students from over 100 college campuses the question, "If you could go back in time and give freshman you a tip, what would you tell you, and why?" The results are over 400 pages of stories, advice, facts, stats, and invaluable information. The Naked Roommate also includes questions and answers as published in my nationally syndicated Help Me, Harlan! advice column.

When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent's Survival Guide
Carol Barkin; 2000
You've taught them how to do their laundry, brought them a year's supply of toothpaste and shampoo, and lectured them on the do's and don’ts of life beyond your home. The time has come for your child to leave for college -- but are you prepared to say goodbye? Written by a mother who survived the perils of packing her own child off to school, When Your Kid Goes to College provides supportive, reassuring, and helpful tips for handling this inevitable but difficult separation. Saying goodbye isn't the end of the world; it's the beginning of an exciting new one for your child -- and you!

You're On Your Own (But I'm Here if You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years
Marjorie Savage; 2009 (Revised edition)
Savage, who has worked with parents and students at the University of Minnesota for a decade (she's now the director of its parent-liaison program), addresses the sometimes tough issues facing parents and their college-age kids, as the latter seek independence (but still rely on counsel from Mom and Dad) and the former try to figure out just how involved they should be in Jr.'s undergraduate experience. In 12 chapters that span the summer before college, the culture shock of school (and the corresponding empty-nest shake-up for parents), the freshman 15, course loads, extracurricular activities, risky or defiant behaviors and life beyond the BA, Savage gives parents clear and seasoned advice-and offers tips for students as well. Illustrating her points through anecdotes, charts and bullet-pointed lists, she crafts a readable, if sometimes very commonsensical, guide to establishing the right level of parental involvement. For nervous parents, this should be a reassuring and helpful book.

Revised 8/10