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Recommended Parenting Books

''Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents'' by Jane Isay

Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents
by Jane Isay

Our son and his girlfriend are living at our house, part-time, for the next several months until they head off to Asia to teach English for a year. Clearly he’s in a transitional stage and must have thought it would be a good idea to educate his parents about the best way to navigate this new phase of our relationship. So he came home from the library with a copy of Walking on Eggshells. Fair enough. Our son’s giving us this book reflects the way we brought him up… when something’s on your mind, speak up and get your needs met. Bravo!

So I read Walking on Eggshells and read chunks of it to my husband, David. It stimulated lots of conversation between us as parents of a new college graduate. It also inspired an important family meeting in which our son, his girlfriend, David and I discussed the give and take of living together in peace.

We had a really nice summer… and part of the ease came from the principles in Eggshells. I’ll pass them along to you:

On Advice:
  They don’t want to hear it.
  They don’t hear it.
  They resent it.
  Don’t give it.

They resent it when parents meddle and are distressed when parents try to fix everything ASAP. When they feel they are being judged, they become even harsher judges (of us).
—Jane Isay

Jane Isay interviewed nearly 100 parents and as many “adult children” (How’s that for an oxymoron?) Her retelling of their personal stories made this book very engaging. These are real parents and real sons and daughters, struggling with their relationships. Some were botching it up royally and some were enjoying a new level of mutual respect and appreciation for one another. The degree of success was directly connected to the parents’ willingness to back off and let their kids live their own lives.

Most of you have middle and high school age kids. The last thing you may want to imagine is life as an “empty nester.” But even for parents whose kids are a decade or more away from college graduation, this book offers an opportunity to think about the kind of relationship you want with your kids when they do grow up.

To help you figure out what direction you’d like to go in and where you’d like to end up, Walking on Eggshells will inevitably force you to reflect on the relationship you had with your parents as you transitioned into adulthood. How do you think about that relationship today? If there are aspects of it you’d rather not duplicate with your own adult child now’s the time to lay the groundwork for change. This book can definitely help.

More Recommended Parenting Books »

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