This unique book supports parents who are struggling with the heartache of having a teenager or an adult child who is troubled, angry, or distant. Such rifts can cause unspeakable sorrow that parents too often must bear alone. Psychologist and parent Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., offers insight, empathy, and perspective to those who have lost the opportunity to be the parent they desperately wanted to be and who are mourning the loss of a harmonious relationship with their child. Through case examples and healing exercises, Dr. Coleman helps parents:
Reduce anger, guilt, and shameLearn how temperament, the teen years, their own or a partner's mistakes, and divorce can strain the parent-child bondCome to terms with their own and their child's imperfectionsMaintain self-esteem through difficult timesDevelop strategies for rebuilding the relationship or move toward acceptance of what can't be changedUnderstand how society's high expectations of parents contribute to the risk of parental wounds
By helping parents recognize what they can do, and let go of what they cannot, Dr. Coleman helps families develop more positive ways of healing themselves and relating to each other.
Parenting and relationship expert Coleman points out that one can be a devoted parent and still have things run amok. Parents who have made mistakes and those who haven't can both be involved in a hurtful relationship with an older child; Coleman's focus is on helping the parent cope and carry on. In individual chapters, he explores the many reasons why a relationship can falter, examining how divorce, mismatches in child/parent personalities and the demands of a competitive society can adversely affect the child/parent relationship. Using case studies from his psychology practice as well as his own experiences as a divorced father who once faced a difficult time with his eldest daughter, Coleman provides strategies for managing the guilt and regret that can arise in parents as children grow into teens and young adults. He advises parents to take responsibility for their past actions, to make amends, to forgive both themselves and their children, and to move guilt and shame to the background and gratitude to the foreground. By following these "essential principles," Coleman claims, emotionally wounded parents will begin to overcome the pain of relationships gone awry and move on to a more hopeful future. Coleman's personable writing style makes this an engaging read despite the serious subject matter.