This concrete, easy-to-use guide is designed to help anxious parents support and understand their newly fledged children as they weather the slings and arrows of the first year of college. Johnson (Assistant Dean of Students/Cornell) and Schelhas-Miller (Adolescent Development/Cornell) possess decades of professional experience as college counselors, and their easy expertise is obvious. Despite glib overtones—the work at times reads like a transcript from a Power Point talk given at a generic freshman orientation—the authors address difficult issues with varying degrees of success. Certain basic assumptions—parental acceptance of teen sex (even to the point of providing off-to-college birth control pills) and the equally underplayed acceptance of underage drinking and drugging—might be obstacles for some readers, as might gender- and class-based generalizations, such as those addressed to young women on campus and individuals who are the first in their (immigrant) family to attend college. Despite these caveats, however, most potential first-year situations—from academic probation and credit-card sprees to date rape and eating disorders—are discussed in level, clear language designed to help parents allow their children to cope. The authors' main message (that parenting style should evolve from daily caregiving to more of a mentoring relationship) is clear and consistent, and seems sane and grounded guidance.
Both a useful guide and a literary security blanket, offering familiar comforts and good, solid advice in a text-dense sea of boxes, lists, and resources for further reading.