The Launching Years

It’s no secret that the college admissions process brings pressure to students and parents alike, but this stressful time is a great opportunity for adults to model behaviors that teach teens how to become strong and resourceful young adults. Seeing the bigger picture, keeping anxiety in check, and realizing that outcomes may not happen as planned may sound like simple ideals, but in reality, parents and students are often less able to handle these pressures than they might think.

Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt’s book, The Launching Years: Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life, provides strategies for strengthening the parent-child relationship and fostering the independence and resilience so necessary for success in college and in the real world. According Kastner and Wyatt, parents should be focusing less on “where will my child go to college?” as the benchmark of success. Instead, parents should adopt a broader framework and look to questions that truly are vital to one’s future such as:

  • Is my child building strong interests and pursuing them both inside and outside school?
  • Does he seem motivated to do well, wherever he goes?
  • Does he know how to take full advantage of whatever resources a college has?
  • Is he engaged, aware, resilient, responsible, and committed to living a productive life?
  • Is my child developing a life based on worthy goals and values?

The Launching Years offers parents strategies for making this challenging transition a successful one, and the authors remind parents that their goal is the development of a well-adjusted adult, not just college admission.

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