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Don't Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with your Adult Children Paperback – August 5, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A very wise book. It not only takes into account the perspectives of parents and adult children but helps us to understand how changes in society influence these perspectives. Its non-judgmental framework and helpful questions should foster important cross-generational dialogue.' -- Rhoda Unger, author of Women and Gender: A Feminist Perspective 'Although tons of parenting books line the shelves of bookstores, very little exists to help parents of 20, 30 and 40 somethings. Ruth Nemzoff has written a wise and readable book that covers most of the universal developmental issued faced by today's parents of adult children. She encourages both generations to reflect on our inevitable differences, and advises us on how to speak respectfully about them. If her advice is followed, family relationships will be strengthened, improving life for all involved, including the following generations of children.' - Linda A. Braun, former director of Families First Parenting Programs

About the Author

Dr. Ruth Nemzoff is a resident scholar at Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center and lectures widely on family dynamics. Her papers are archived at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University where she also holds a doctorate in social policy. She has served three terms in the New Hampshire legislature and is the mother of four adult children. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband Harris Berman.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230605184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230605183
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Please visit www.ruthnemzoff.com for more information on events.

Dr. Ruth Nemzoff, author of Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family (Palgrave/Macmillan, September 2012), the former assistant minority leader of the New Hampshire State Legislature, the first female Deputy Commissioner of Health and Welfare in New Hampshire, and the first female Bank of New Hampshire Board Member is currently a resident scholar at Brandeis University Women's Studies Research Center where she wrote Don't Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships with Your Adult Children (Palgrave Macmillan 2008), which won the 2013 About.com Reader's Choice award for best book for parents of college-aged children and empty nesters. Dr. Nemzoff has led over 250 discussions on this topic in the United States, Canada, India, China, and England.

For over ten years, she was an adjunct associate professor at Bentley College. She was also a pioneer in developing programs for persons with disabilities and started the equal opportunity office in the New Hampshire State Department of Education. In addition, she was a consultant to schools on gender equity.

She was formerly a visiting scholar at the Wellesley Center for Research of Women, where she wrote an historical analysis of the "Changing Perceptions of Mother of Children with Disabilities." She has also published articles about environmental advertising and women in business and politics. Ruth Nemzoff has served in the United Way Board, the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on the status of Women, the New Hampshire Governor's Commission for the Handicapped and the Developmental Services Planning Board. She was a member the New Hampshire Business Development Board and the Board of Boston's Jewish Family and Children's Services. She founded a nursery school, a counseling service, and the National Women's Legislative Lobby. She served on the board of the Pro-Choice Resource Center and of Newbury College. She is currently the chair of the advisory committee of the University of Massachusetts center for Women and Politics, and a board member of and Lasell Village, Retirement Community and serves on The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. In 1998, she ran for Governor's Council and lost by less than 1% of the vote.

Dr. Nemzoff holds a Doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University, a Master's degree in Counseling from Columbia University, and a Bachelor's degree in American Studies from Barnard College. Her papers are archived at the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University. She and her husband, Harris Berman, have four adult children, four in-law children and eight grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I hate needing this book. My daughter and I were very close as she was growing up, and now we hardly talk. It feels like I'm always saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing.

Ruth reminds me that I don't have to stay with these feelings, and that the adult pair, mother - daughter, in this instance relies on two adults who used to have different roles with each other and now must find new ones with their complicated emotions and perhaps outdated ideas of each other. And, Rth reminds me that love is strong, and gives me a path to somehow finding a way.

Even if my daughter never talks to me again, I will know I have tried to communicate honestly. Maybe I can lay the groundwork using Ruth's exercises at the end of each chapter.

Wish me luck, my daughter luck and to yourself, of course. Thank goodness this book exists.
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Format: Paperback
"Don't Bite Your Tongue" is a wonderful primer for Advanced Motherhood. The "other Dr. Ruth" gently guides us through the intricacies of parenting our adult children. Written with the wisdom of a scholar and the humility that only the mother of four grownups can bring to this subject, she deftly addresses issues of communication, in-laws, stylistic and cultural differences, grandparenting, disappointment, adult sibling relationships, money, and more, while encouraging us to acknowledge and utilize our childrens' expertise. The book is filled with vivid vignettes and sound suggestions to help us create satisfying mutual relationships.

As a family therapist, I recommend "Don't Bite Your Tongue" to all parents of launching children, since it so clearly delineates developmental issues that are bound to arise as the parent-child relationship moves into it's final metamorphosis.

Book clubs, and parent's groups will find rich material for unending discussion in this book.
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I loved the way the author organized the content, the questions she raises for consideration and her beautiful writing style. Nemzoff doesn't talk down to her reader but rather engages her in considering these very sensitive relationships. I am always suspect of self-help books because they imply that one size fits all, but Nemzoff avoids this assumption yet finds the commonality in the experiences of the adult child and the parent.
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I really wish I could give this work a positive review because like countless other parents with adult children, I need help. Unfortunately the best part of the book is the preface and the conclusion. The preface has some excellent insight into modern society that helps place our relationships in the proper context. The conclusion has some very moving personal experiences by Dr. Nemzoff that I found endearing.

I was unable to find any real advise that I might find useful. In the chapter on weddings, for example, which I could not wait to get into since my wife and I are in the midst of one right now, the advise could be summarized as follows. Modern weddings are complex and there is no easy way to negotiate the potential for relationship problems.

In fact I am about to give away the whole book: "Don't bite your tongue- COMMUNICATE!"

For readers who enjoy anecdotes, there are numerous ones in each chapter.
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Despite the sea of glowingly positive reviews from others, I have to say I found this book an utter waste of time.

The author falsely assumes a measure of grounded mental health in the adult children she speaks of that does not exist in the families of most that would pursue this kind of title; that's one of the reasons people seek guidance in the first place.

A simple example of the author's deluded thinking is the mother on pages 91-92, directly voicing doubts to her daughter's about her financial future with a man she is "enchanted" with...as though one could get away with that line of questioning and have it go over as smooth as silk. Utterly unrealistic, and thus not at all useful. I know that the author has worked with families in the past, but I've begun to wonder just how successful she really was. In the end, I ended up reading passages of the book to my wife at night so we could end the day with a good laugh. Ridiculous.
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As a relatively new mother-in-law and brand new grandmother, I thought this book might be an intersting read, and I was right. Dr. Nemzoff is insightful and offers great advice. The book is a real treasure - filled with facts, anecdotes, and wisdom for many of the current issues parents face with their adult children. Each chapter concludes with a series of questions that makes you consider the topic from your own perspective. Dr. Nemzoff provides a guide that works for today, discussing topics that include finances, weddings, interfaith marriages, and divorce. More importantly, she encourages parents to tackle these issues openly and honestly. This book is one to be read and re-read BEFORE the crisis unfurls!
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This book should be a must read for anyone who seeks healthy and harmonious relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. The author did an excellent job of presenting the information in an organized, meaningful, and interesting way so, although it is a "self-help" book it was also an enjoyable, yet informative read. I also want to stress the importance of the author's advice, to communicate, and I appreciated the support in that where most other experts on the subject advocate silence and biting one's tongue. This solution does not lead to close or honest relationships and, in fact, runs the risk of stifled resentment coming out in the future in much more harmful ways. I applaud the author and hope to see more books that support people in respectful and empathic communication.
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