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Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents
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Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  61 reviews
On giving advice:
They Don’t Want It.
They Don’t Hear It.
They Resent It.
Don’t Give It.


We raise our children to be independent and lead fulfilling lives, but when they finally do, staying close becomes more complicated than ever. And for every bewildered mother who wonders why her children don’t call, there is a frustrated son or daughter who just wants to be treated like a
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 26th 2008 by Anchor (first published March 27th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 353)
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Rebecca
The author aims this book toward baby-boomer parents, yet I originally thought that the title applied to me, the "Adult Child" in the equation. Overall, I found the book mildly helpful, too depressing to read in one sitting (reading about all those dysfunctional families really wears a person down!), and a mite repetitive while leaving out some important elements of an adult child's perspective.

The best nugget from this book is what makes a parent / adult child relationship so treacherous that
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Taylor
I don't have a shelf for self-help, given that I almost never read it. This book was recommended to me by a counselor, and I actually did find it helpful. It is written from the perspective of parent wanting to improve their relationship with adult children. At first I thought that perspective might make it hard for me to get into, but it was quite the opposite. I have no way of imagining what is going on in a parent's head when thinking of adult children (given that my child is only 2) and it w ...more
Anne-Marie
I bought this for my mother for Christmas but I wanted to read it first in case it gave advice I didn’t care for. First of all, I got a little pizza sauce on it and I’m pretty sure that my mom will find that distasteful. Second of all, this book is pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted to tell my mother but have never been able to because of our fragile relationship. She has actually used the words “Walking on eggshells” around me in an email so the title is quite apro pro. Isay gives numerous ...more
Carla Bruns
Oct 10, 2014 Carla Bruns rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older adults -- 50 and over
This was an easy read but not exactly what I was looking for. It was geared more towards parents my mom's age dealing with children my age as opposed to being helpful for someone with twenty something year old children. The book was filled with stories about different types of relationships within different families. The advice given wasn't very direct, it was more a read between the lines thing. Honestly, if you're in your 40s and your parents are 60s or older and you haven't figured out how to ...more
Gayle
If you are parenting an infant, a child, or a teen, you can unearth a plethora of books advising you on every conceivable aspect of the job. But once the little darling turns 18, you are on your own. And when you are like me, and have five adult children, each with his/her own complicating factors, you see yourself in the midst of a delicate minefield with no map in sight. Thus the title Walking on Eggshells, and Jane Isay, the author, makes a mighty effort to roadmap the challenges of dealing w ...more
JoAnn
There is definately a lack of literature about a parents' relationship with their adult children, and this book certainly begins to fill that gap. Embedded in the many real-life experiences and stories is sage advice and help. Many of us, can find bits of ourselves and our children in these stories. It's comforting to know that we are not alone in our pain, guilt and confusion. Also, Isay identifies the period in a young adult's life between college graduation and becoming independent emotionall ...more
Wendy Paige
Walking on Eggshells explains how to "navigate the delicate relationship between adult children and parents."

I found I could relate to this statement as I lived it in December of 2012: "A daughter who is filled with gratitude for your generosity one evening may be frustrated with you the next morning" (page 19).

From page 24: "Conflict with grown children is frightening...Even minor disagreements may mean that a child will disappear for a while, which can cause unbearable anxiety. It is a revela
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Tanya
Because this book contained story after story of relationship, by midpoint, it was very boring to me. It didn't offer many solutions, though there were a few examples of successful relationships between adult children and their elders. The successes seemed to be when the parent treated the grown child as an adult and respected boundaries and decisions made by the adult child, allowing them to have control of their own life. It did make me realize how distance is such a powerful tool of control t ...more
Marti
There was little that was news to me in this book, but reading the stories of other parents with relationships with adult children was affirming in that we all have some similar challenges. This book was easy to read and very well-written. I would recommend it to parents of adult children.
Elizabeth
Fairly commonsense advice, but a necessary book. A good companion read to Judith Viorst's NECESSARY LOSSES. To me, this is beautiful [a comment from a mother interviewed for the book:]: "As a mother...there's always going to be a crisis. My happiest moments are when all my children are okay. That's just how life is. We've all been through it ourselves. It is hard, because you are so bone of their bone, skin of their skin. You feel things so strongly, if you are truly a loving parent." p. 226
This
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sla
p 77
She couldn't, she told me. "You have to feel close and safe to confess sorrow and weakness."
Sarah
I was really excited about this book when I heard about it on a parenting blog. I've seen the challenges of navigating relationships between adult children, in my life and in the lives of friends. I was hopeful for a book that would help me be a better adult child to my parents and my in-laws.

Unfortunately, this book is written primarily for the parents in the adult child/parent relationship. Most of the advice is for how to strengthen relationship with the child from the parents point of view.
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Khristy
Offers great advice for parents, sadly lacking in advice for children.
Barb
This book aided me by confirming for me that even though our children become young adults, the relationship between us doesn't automatically become a mature relationship. I didn't finish the book because the examples that were sited became repetitious, in my view; as a result, I started to loose focus while reading this book.

However, I felt what I read was worthwhile and am grateful to the author for focusing on this topic. I found some tips on how to enrich my relationship with my adult childre
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Naomi
11/22/13: I really loved the personal stories in this book. It made me realize that the general stories of many parents and adult kids are similar; it's just the details that are different. Overall we are all the same in many ways. It also helped me to see my mom as a human being with all the human being stuff that comes with it. It also made me realize I don't truly accept my parents as they are. Not really. Which is against my principles so I had better work that out.
Marcia
The author interviewed parents of adult children & uses their experiences to highlight success stories and pitfalls of parents' relationships with their adult children. It is okay, but I'm not real far into it & I think it is a little depressing. Many kids seem to only want to be around their parents when they need something. Very sad.
Amanda
This book addressed some interesting issues, but failed to use any innovation in finding solutions for some of the challenges adult children and their parents face. I also found it interesting that the children were generally the disfunctional parties rather than the parents. Probably a worthwhile read, but moreso for parents of adult children than the children. It may help some cut those too tight apron strings.
Gabriele
As a parent of grown children, I was comforted with Ms. Isay's interviews which indicated that children want relationships with their parents. Healthy relationships are difficult. Some of these stories were frustrating and depressing to read but overall I felt the book gave me perspective and hope. The number one lesson she passed on to me was that grown children do not want advice from their parents.
Laurie
I stumbled across this book accidentally while looking for another with the same title. But it seemed relevant, so I started reading--and I actually read it cover to cover! The author gives multiple examples of both good and bad in parent/adult child relationships. Reading about others experiences gave me a fresh perspective and many ideas for redefining relationships for this new stage of life.
Penny
Just the ticket for parents of adult children and adult children of "disfunctional - or not" parents. Vignettes outlining various scenarios in keeping communication alive among the various generations. Gave me insight about the developmental stages of maturing young adults - 20's and 30's... and helped to understand various attitudes, how they play out and how to make peace. Fast read.
Timmi
Apr 23, 2008 Timmi rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents with adult children
I bought this to give to my parents when I move. I definitely think there are good things in this book, and I really hope my parents take the advice of the author. However, I didn't really like the way the book was arranged, and I thought the author could talk more about the parent/adult child relationship and how to improve it instead of just offering stories of other families.
Robin
Jan 30, 2010 Robin is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Being the parent of 19 & 21 year olds, this is an appropriate book for this stage of our lives. Appears to be concerned with slighly older children, but, hey, I'll take whatever pointers I can.
Well, obviously not progressing much in the book, but life marches on & am progressing with the parent-child relationships... Now using as a reference...
E Maria
May 23, 2007 E Maria rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents with adult children
Shelves: self-help
It is a good book for baby boomers who have adult children. It helps better explain why "our" children are different then we were when we started out on our own. The author interviews several "babyboomers" and their adult children. Helps us deal better with the different aspects of our children as "adults"
Cathy
I wish I would have known 10 years ago that the twenties would be soo hard. I'll take a teenager over a twenties any day. This book was very incitful. It is full of real life stories and examples. I think I mught survive adult children knowing that I'm not the only on who finds is overwhelming.
Crystal
This book did not seem to flow well, seemed scattered, and there were way too many case studies/examples (about 90% it seemed) versus genuine learning information. It might be helpful to someone who is struggling with their adult children, but even then, it was not very informative.
Carol Schomas
Pretty insightful read. #43/52 for 2014
Annie Feuerborn
It is a delicate balancing act when interacting with one's adult children, especially if the parent is trying to maintain comfortableness, a sense of equality and unconditional love. The scenarios in the book are "real", but it's tough getting it (relationships) to all work out!
Joanna
I am enjoying reading this book. It is full of short stories and advice on dealing with adult children/growing children. I relate more with the book as the adult child and how my parents dealt with me. I will need to read this book again in 10 years.
E
Jul 12, 2007 E rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks in their 20s
this is all about how to make adult relationships with parents and their children work...i like it so far though the narratives about other folks tend to get a little long winded.

read the epilogue to understand her motivation for writing the book.
Elaine
Jan 07, 2009 Elaine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mothers of adult children
Recommended to Elaine by: a patient
The author said what I expected. Don't say too much. She described a mother-daughter interaction, and then she interpreted both sides. I liked it, but her material wasn't a revelation to me. Once again I thought my daughters and I are doing well.
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