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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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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 Adamss 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 whove joined cults or seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. She stresses that these are real problems--but that they arent the parents problems. Adams reassures parents that theyve done their jobs and that they dont 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 whove repeatedly fallen on their own teaches them nothing; its just a temporary fix. Beyond offering sympathy, reassurance, and wisdom, the book doesnt lay out a plan for solving anyones 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.
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If increasing numbers of our generation are finding our children "disappointing", let's actually take some responsibility and realize, "Hey, maybe I sucked at raising kids!" Forgive yourself, or don't forgive yourself, but, for once, let's step away from the denial on-the-rocks and admit that "spanking" our kids in rage (and in the face, and with objects other than our hands) is abuse. Screaming abusive comments about their failures as children certainly hasn't contributed to their success as adults.
Lastly, I'd like to say that there are many wonderful parents of our generation (my best girlfriend, for example) who's children did turn out to be so-called "failures". For those folks, this book may or may not help you assuage your misplaced guilt.
For me, and many parents like me, that guilt is placed squarely where it should be -- on us.
I urge you : if your kids are failures or they aren't but want nothing to do with you -- look at your own actions. If you are so thoroughly steeped in denial that you really believe you were a great parent, please get help. If you don't want to do that, then give up on the idea of having any type of meaningful relationship with your adult kids -- it won't happen.
So its the grown children that need to look at themselves and not blame their parent for their issues that we didn't create. And no, I definitely don't feel guilt, shame, or lack self esteem, anyone that knows me knows they couldn't have had a better parent. The immature children need to realize time is precious, not promised, and what's taken away you can never get back. So in the end if the children don't want a relationship, the grand children shouldn't be punished or used as a weapon. The grown grand children feel stuck right now until they can get out completely on their own. They love their grand parent and have lived with and bonded with them for most of their life. They miss their grand parent and don't not like their mothers, love them, but don't like them. So if readers are looking to gain insight on alienation this is not the book.