Parenting for the Launch What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18

A Special Message to Parents and Caregivers

It’s unfortunate, but true that children don’t arrive with an instruction manual.  Although parenting is one of our most important responsibilities, we rely more on our instincts rather than on any formal instruction.  Despite our best efforts, we lack a complete perspective of what constitutes successful parenting.  As a parent, what does it take to earn a 4.0?  Shouldn’t we know?


Dr. Stephen Covey, best-selling author of the “Seven Habits” books, suggests that we “begin with the end in mind” in our workplaces and in life.  But, when it comes our parenting, what exactly is the “end” in mind?  How is our parenting effectiveness to be defined or judged? 


Although parenting goes through various stages, one major milestone comes when our children leave the nest.  At that point, we will consider how we prepared them for success as independent adults.  When most of us look back on our parenting experience, this will be an important acid test.


Unfortunately, a growing obstacle is that critical life skills are not being adequately developed in our children.  A key factor is that parents and educators often think the other is responsible for covering important subjects such as personal finance.  Other contributors include ill-prepared/immature parents, broken families, perpetual “busyness,” and fewer job opportunities for teens.  The end result is that essential life skills topics are falling through the cracks, and it is becoming more evident each day.


I wrote What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead as a preparatory, life success guide for graduates.  Designed to help fill the life skills gap, it contains time-tested principles in diverse subject matters as life purpose, character, relationships and communication, spiritual growth, adversity, personal productivity, college academics, career selection and advancement, love and marriage, and managing finances.  Depending on the subject matter, the book either illustrates or instructs readers in how to become successful in these important life arenas.  


Although written to graduates, I was surprised to learn from numerous parents that I had just created a comprehensive guide to parenting!  Further, it could be a valuable third party reference during those years when our teens stop listening to us!  Rather than a “how to” book, however, What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead is a useful definition of successful, comprehensive parenting.  That is, in “Covey speak,” it helps parents define what the “end” is.  How I wish I had something like this to guide us along the way!


What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead provides readers with before-the-fact, practical wisdom for successful independent life.  Among the key topics covered in the book are:


  • How to discover your life purpose
  • How to define success
  • What are the most admirable character traits
  • How your attitude and disposition will influence your success
  • Keys to working well with people in a team setting
  • Elements of a strong spiritual life and what it can offer you
  • How to accept and handle adversity
  • How to maximize your personal productivity and manage your time
  • How to transition to the college academic environment
  • A “killer” study method that works!
  • How to select and advance in your career
  • A foolproof way to a glowing performance review
  • How to build your value and win promotions
  • Keys to responsible dating in an increasingly irresponsible world
  • How to know whether he or she is “the one”
  • Keys to a successful marriage
  • Attributes of wise financial management
  • How to live within your means and achieve your financial goals

I would venture to say that most parents would score a “needs improvement” when it comes to covering all of these subjects with our children.  I know I would, and I wrote the book!


Be sure to check out our latest book, Wings Not Strings: Parenting Strategies to Let Go with Confidence, which along with Parenting for the Launch: Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World, offers encouragement and practical strategies to help parents navigate the teen years and prepare both parents and teens at this pivotal time of life. 


It is my hope that these books will serve as a valuable resources to you in your vitally important role as parent or guardian.  


Thank you for your interest!


Dennis Trittin

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