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Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, Third Edition Paperback – July, 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Letting Go is about what it feels like for parents when their kids go off to college. Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger provide a compassionate approach, practical information, and advice about the physical and emotional processes of letting go. They discuss the college-age child's search for identity, independence, and intimacy; give a succinct and accurate description of how college life has changed over the decades; and provide a year-by-year breakdown of what to expect. Plus, you can read about typical and not-so-typical problems including date rape, crime, eating disorders, drug and alcohol use, and sexual issues. Of special note is the focus on orientation and the freshman year, including the disorientation parents feel once the drop-off has been made.


"A sensitive, informative, and well-written guide to help parents know what their children are getting into when they leave for college. Full of practical advice and psychological insight, it's a better antidote than Valium for the anxieties parents feel as they prepare to let their children go." -- -- Ben Leiber, Dean of Students, Amherst College

"As the father of two children who have left home to attend college and as president of an institution that receives, each year, hundreds of young women and men who are leaving home for the first time, I find Letting Go to be a must read for parents of college-going students." -- -- John Brooks Slaughter, President, Occidental College

"The original Letting Go has served as a seminal source of information to families and their college-bound children for many years. This updated edition adds contemporary elements (especially in technology and diversity of student population) which will make this volume invaluable for years to come." -- -- Larry Moneta, Associate Vice Provost for University Life, University of Pennsylvania

"The third edition of Letting Go is better than ever. It is must reading for parents embarking with their son or daughter on the college experience. Information is relevant, current, practical, and easy to understand. It introduces parents to college issues, challenges, and services available at colleges and universities in the 1990s." -- -- Dr. Patricia A. Whitely, Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Miami


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Perennial; 3rd Rev&Up edition (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006095244X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060952440
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Fast-moving book of advice for parents of college kids is written by a Dean and a psychotherapist, so be aware of the "leave it to the professionals" attitude and sense of fatalism (in guise of acceptance and tolerance) that sullies an otherwise very good guidebook.
A couple of chapters into it, I realized that this book might be a good one for parents of babies to read... no kidding. Because so many of the problems between college students and their parents could be easily handled or even avoided if parents always had a good solid communication line with their kids. From Day One! Simply, every parent lets go of their kid eventually, and it is sobering to consider that, 'round college time, you are either letting go of a friend or a stranger.
What makes this is an extremely useful guide is the authors' obvious close knowledge of and experience with almost every kind of pitfall a student can drop into. Parents are indeed given a thorough rundown of what they can expect to see happen. IN AMAZING DETAIL!
Students about to enter college are well-advised to read the chapter called "The Freshman Year." It is an excellent examination of what's very possibly in store, will prepare the student for some of the challenges faced by all Freshmen. The nervous 'newbie' may find some real solace in knowing that (s)he is not alone in her/his anxieties and uncertainties.
The authors' drugs warnings are a bit too complacent for my sense of health and self-discipline, meaning that there is an annoying hint of "well, that's what kids do in college." But I also took that as a helpful bit of data, because now I know that college administrators and professionals simply don't care if your kid is on drugs, until it escalates into an enormous problem.
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This book and When Your Kid Goes to College were worth many hours of therapy during the late summer and early fall of my son's first quarter at college, especially around the time we took him down to school. I preferred Letting Go because it was more comprehensive, but other parents might prefer When Your Kid...There is a wide array of situations to learn from and to place your own experience in context. The authors provide trend material from their long-term research to help parents distinguish their child's college context from their own. I observed other parents coping with this transition unaided. Some were fine but others were having trouble and personalized the experience. Facts do help mitigate emotions. I recommended this book to one overwhelmed mother whose prodigy had gone far away to pursue her talent. Her response was "Thank you, I'll let you know when I am ready for a book (ital.)" as if this would be cold comfort for her personal loss. But the fact is, the authors know way more than most of our friends and relatives do; and the number of parents going through this experience is very large (check the book for figures). There is a great deal to learn both from the academic analysis and from the many examples of parents' experiences. Well researched, well written, logical and helpful.
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This book is a triumph of the help yourself/help your child genre. Ms Coburn and Ms Treeger write entertainingly and with obvious understanding of the psyches of the college students and the psyches of those left behind: their parents. They emphasize insightful statements with insightful anecdotes. I liked this book so much that I recommended it to a parent of elementary-school-age children. Her response was "This book is important to ALL parents of ANY age child - because the issues of letting go are universal to parenthood and to all ages. I feel like it is helping me right now." Whether you are feeling overwhelmed by the approach of your child's college years - or whether you feel experienced at the college game, I would recommend this book for everything from the "Aha-I recognize THAT situation" syndrome to genuine helpfulness to sheer entertainment. LETTING GO will be helpful to parents, to high school college counselors, and to college faculty and support staff. It is written with a common sense approach and in a literate style. It is a gem of a book.
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After years of reading "Your Two Year Old - Terrible yet Tender", all of a sudden you are the proud owner of an eighteen year old who is leaving home and leaving you behind. Quick -- where's the owner's manual? "Letting Go" will do for most bereaved ex-parents. If you are mourning the the "loss" of your child to their freshman college roommate, it's good to know that others are suffering a similar syndrome as they go though the first college year. As deans and college counselors, the writers have seen it all. They describe with uncany accuracy all the behaviors that accompany this very powerful event for both parent and child. So if it helps you to know many others have shared the same experience, Letting Go, will give you all the details.
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I received this book as a gift when my son was a junior in high school. He is now graduated from college and my daughter is a college sophmore. This book is the BEST parenting book I have ever read during all my years as a parent. Both my kids are very different yet this book touched on each of their challenges with practical and thoughtful advice as to how to address the different phases that each child went through. Many times, I followed their guidance, sometimes not sure if it would work, and was always pleased when it did! I give this gift to all my friends who are at this stage and always get an enthusiastic response after they have read it. It was truly my guidebook for these years and is dogeared from use! I highly recommend this book!
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