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

4.0 out of 5 stars 55 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 (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kathy A. Flament on November 12, 2008
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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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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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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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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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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Could not finish this book. I thought our role as parents was to raise children to be independent, self responsible, self determined adults. I thought raising children to adults was a gradual shift of responsibility and decision making from parent to burgeoning adult over time. This book takes the position that life is more difficult now than in the past which means we need to support our children for longer. She sees helicopter parents as not being a problem but as concerned, involved parents to college age children. In one case she describes parents helping support a 35 year old man and the conflict between the man feeling they are supporting his art and desire to start a business and their belief he should have a job. In the adult world that would be a business loan (maybe from the parents) and not provided as ongoing parental support. While reading this book, I began to understand why my daughter described her college years as being surrounded by kids whose parents would call professors over grades, kids who went out of control the second they left home and kids who expected grades and organizational positions without earning them. It explained parents I meet parents are helping kids out well into adulthood and undermining their own financial security. This book left me wondering if our children are ever required to be adults. How long are we expected to provide them with a level of living they desire but have not earned?

I wanted a book that would help me identify reasonable boundaries and ways to continually improve my precious relationships with my adult children - functionally adult children not just children of an adult age. Each child is so different in the transition into adulthood and I'm looking for ways to be better at my side of the process.
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