PJ Media

When Parents Hurt

I get a lot of books in the mail from publishers–some are worth reading and others aren’t. When I first picked up psychologist Joshua Coleman’s book, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0061148423?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0061148423″emWhen Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along,/em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0061148423″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / I thought it was another self-help book with silly strategies about how to mend a parent’s relationship with his or her grown kids and teens. I deduced it not worth my time when the first thing I read was that he originally helped adult children in therapy sessions craft letters to their parents telling them essentially to kiss off. Coleman states that he thought the kids were often right and the parents were to blame in most of these cases where family members did not get along. However, he admits that he was wrong and that as often as not, the grown kids had contributed equally to the poor relationship and parents were not necessarily to blame. Parents hurt too when their teens and adult children want nothing to do with them or treat them in dismissive or cruel ways. This book teaches you how to heal. br /br /And just as the author admits he was wrong about parental and child conflict, I will admit that I was wrong to initially dismiss the book without giving it a chance. It is chockfull of information for those parents who do not get along with their grown children and offers concrete advice on how to cope and change the destructive child-parent interaction to a postive one. There is a chapter on the “Brave New Parent of the Twenty-First Century” where the author describes the burdens parents are facing today. One of these burdens is that parents have now become more responsible for entertaining their children because of the decline of extended families, the scarcity of places for kids to play and the blaring media news on the dangers of outside play. “..the claim ‘I’m bored,’ rather than being a statement about subjective experience, ends up being a statement about the parent’s adequacy and worth. Children can now judge parents by how well they provide opportunities and therefore, how deserving they are of the child’s love and respect.” And even if you are a parent who ignores this type of behavior and doesn’t play the game, the society, schools, and even churches etc. often reinforce the notion that parents are responsible for their kid’s happiness. Kids take it to heart and blame parents for any shortcomings. br /br /My favorite chapter in the book is one entitled, “Where Did This Kid Come From? Mismatches Between Parent and Child.” Coleman lays out the different types of parents and kids and gives guidelines on how to deal with each type. For example, if you are a high-achieving parent raising or interacting with a low-achieving child, he says to avoid making all or most of your interactions about grades, college, or career, avoid expressing a lot of worry or “concern” especially if your child is clearly turned off by it, avoid micromanaging and tells you how to become a consultant rather than a manager as your child gets older. br /br /Although, I do not agree with all of the advice given, if you are a parent who has an older teen or adult child who has dismissed you, dissed you, or just plain written you off, this book gives some good ideas on how to cope, for even if you can’t get your relationship back on track, the book gives some good strategies on how to help yourself move on from the pain of being shut out of your grown child’s life. br /br /At the risk of sounding like Jerry Springer here, or worse, Oprah, if you are going through problems with your grown adult child and have any words of wisdom for other readers, drop a line in the comments.