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When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us: Letting Go of Their Problems, Loving Them Anyway, and Getting on with Our Lives Hardcover – May 27, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743232801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743232807
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

So your adored son is nearing 30--or past it already--and still living at home, unable to hold onto a McJob for longer than six months running, relying on you to feed him and make his car payments. Your beautiful, brainy daughter is anorexic, or addicted to drugs, or unwilling to leave the man who hits her. Increasing numbers of baby boomers are finding that their grown children have fallen far short of their expectations. These parents are confused, angry, guilt-ridden, and ashamed. Jane Adams’s When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us is for them. She reveals the kinds of disappointments that other parents are facing: kids who are unable or unwilling to support themselves, kids who are addicts or convicts, kids who’ve joined cults or seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. She stresses that these are real problems--but that they aren’t the parents’ problems. Adams reassures parents that they’ve done their jobs and that they don’t have to spend the rest of their lives picking up the pieces for their grown children, emotionally, financially, or otherwise. Continuing to prop up kids who’ve repeatedly fallen on their own teaches them nothing; it’s just a temporary fix. Beyond offering sympathy, reassurance, and wisdom, the book doesn’t lay out a plan for solving anyone’s problems, but reading it may help disappointed parents shuck some of their guilt and shame, gather the courage to take back their own lives, and let their grown children fend for themselves. --Jennifer Lindsay

About the Author

Jane Adams, Ph.D., has been chronicling the lives of American families for over two decades in ten books and numerous columns, articles, and essays. A graduate of Smith College, she has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in psychology. She completed psychodynamic psychotherapy training at the Seattle Institute of Psychoanalysis and has studied at the Washington (D.C.) Psychoanalytic Foundation. A founding editor of the Seattle Weekly, she has appeared on network radio and TV and lectures widely. She lives in New York and Seattle.

More About the Author

Smith College, B.A. Doctorate in social psychology. Author of 12 books, fiction and nonfiction, over 200 magazine and newspaper articles, columns and essays.Frequent media commentator,speaker, coach/consultant in parenting adult children and family business. www.janeadams.com

Customer Reviews

The style and structure of the book resemble an informal support group.
Dr. Cathy Goodwin
The book is now with a good friend who's going through the same thing I did and is much younger.
Mary R. Ellis
And Dr. Jane Adams has advice for parents of grown children just when they need it most.
Harriet

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book was a great comfort to me. When moms at work pipe up about their kids great accomplishments its pretty hard to chime in that your kid is on probation for a felony for selling pot and on a tether for violating probabation and just lost his job because he falsified the time card at the pizza joint. Geez. We didn't want the world but give me a break! Jane takes the heat off and the guilt does ease a bit - this book has helped me love the prodigal son without paying his rent for him. Thanks Jane!
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101 of 110 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This was not a book I would have imagined myself having the guts or integrity to buy. It is not that I am in denial about my grown children but I am in denial about the energy I spend fretting over their adult lives. Buying this book at the recommendation of a friend was a leap - and one I am so pleased I had the gumption to do. Dr. Adams touches something here; I sense that a collective sigh is heaving its way from the huddled masses of parents like myself who cannot imagine how our grown kids have ended up with their current lives. We know there is a lot of this going around but perpective has proven uniquely hard to come by. I would have bet the mortgage I could not gain such piece of mind from a piece of non-fiction; I'd now be willing to bet most any so strung out mom or dad could not help but gain wonderfully cosmic hall passes through this painful corridor of regret, guilt and aging. Brava Jane Adams.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It felt as if Jane Adams was sitting at my kitchen table helping me work through my complicated feelings about my daughter and her beau. With her warm and practical wisdom, this author manages to provide generous comfort and sound advice at the same time.
If you feel guilty, or critical, or even just frustrated with your grown-up kids, you'll find this book reads like a tall glass of cold water on a really hot day.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By K. Corn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book doesn't cover ALL the bases (does any one book when it comes to human relationships?)but it does an excellent job.

What I found particularly helpful:

The statistics and research that indicate that MANY young adults have MORE problems than ever before, which made me realize that parents are not alone in their struggles. The author notes cultural and social pressures that can lead children from strong families down the wrong path (although she is clear that sometimes parents DO make mistakes and that the root cause of problems may be a combination of factors).

An emphasis on a broad look at the many forces that can cause problems, from peer pressure to societal changes.

A STRONG focus on living in the HERE and NOW, rather than obsessing about past mistakes.

Lots of real life examples, showing how parents dealt with truly difficult situations.

No "one answer fits all" solutions. Instead, the author's style is brisk and open, inviting the reader to think about the issue, rather than arrive at definite answers.

This is an easy read and I got through it in one day, although I think several sections deserve rereading. I intend to keep it on my bookshelf and turn to it again, for inspiration, advice and comfort.

I also intend to read other books on the subject, as I want to get different viewpoints and perspectives.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By marcia cohen on June 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Every woman past the age of 40 needs this book for life support. In "When Our Grown Children Disappoint Us," Jane Adams not only exposes our nastiest little secret, which is that we care more about our grown childrens'lives than we should - for both their health and our own. The fact that we passionately love our children is only part of the story, as Dr. Adams points out. Another part is that our egos are so painfully involved that when asked about any one of our kids, we nearly always nudge the scenario by painting the rosiest possible picture.
But the truth is that lots of our children have lots of problems, and "When Our Grown Children Disappoint" covers what must be nearly every miserable one of them - from drug addiction to never-ending dependency, from sexual acting-out to dangerous irresponsibility, from physical illness to mental. One way or another, many of our kids are - as our parents would rightfully put it - "ruining their lives." Gently, and with great humor, Dr. Adams, helps us keep these tragedies from ruining our own lives. In the process, in this beautifully written book, this longtime author shows us how to "separate, thereby restoring helth and peace to suffering parents.
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85 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I gave this book five stars because Adams offers a clear message on a vital topic that deserves more attention.
I know at least three women who have entered therapy because they can't handle their grown children. One college graduate won't leave home or get a job. Another has been on drugs and a third was diagnosed as mentally ill. When I say, "Can't you just detach?" they say, "You have no kids -- just a dog. It's harder than you think."
So I was happy to read the same message from Jane Adams, a social psychologist who's an expert. Take care of yourself, she urges parents. Set limits. We can only save ourselves.
Parents who do too much are pleasing themselves, not the children. Their addiction, says Adams, is to the belief that anything can be fixed. In reality, "Parenthood is one long exercise in relinquishing control -- or the illusion that we ever had it. Postparenthood is about acceptance."
Not all acceptance is about criminal activity or mental illness. Adams should be commended for recognizing that sometimes there's nothing to be shocked about. Most cults, she says, are fairly harmless, and sexual orientation is not a choice. Don't waste time trying to force changes.
The style and structure of the book resemble an informal support group. Adams's style uses a lot of "We" sentences: "As parents, we..." After awhile, I found myself irritated, especially when I read something alone the lines of,. "As we get older, we are willing to accept lower-paying, less competitive jobs..." Who's this "we?" I certainly do not fit this pattern, nor do my contemporary-age friends.
You'll find many stories from real parents with out-of-control adult children. While they held my attention, I kept waiting for more commentary. We (see, I'm doing it now!
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