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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

3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  261 Ratings  ·  66 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
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Flying Dolphin Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 487)
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Feb 16, 2009 Rebecca rated it liked it
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
May 17, 2009 Taylor rated it really liked it
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
Dec 24, 2012 Anne-Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: help-yo-self
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
Helene Keating
Feb 28, 2016 Helene Keating rated it liked it

Some great advice on dealing with our adult-children . Isay writes with empathy, wisdom and encouragement. Being a parent can be challenging and difficult at times. But it is by far the greatest gift bestowed to me personally and the most rewarding . We try to raise our children to be responsible and independent . Our children are now adults . And with that a new chapter begins. The parent-child relationships is now a parent-adult relationship .

Tolstoy's comments at the opening of Anna Kare
Susan Emmet
Jun 13, 2015 Susan Emmet rated it liked it
I kind of gave up on self-help books twenty years ago while going through a divorce.
As a stepmother, I did find relevant and useful stories of families of all sorts, especially those of Boomer Parents and their children. I'm a Boomer Stepmother who is trying hard NOT to offer advice or counsel unsolicited.
But it's hard. People want to "save" others from mistakes, but children hear competing takes and (partially) listen or, more often, politely smile and disappear for a while.
"Walking on Eggshell
Jan 29, 2009 Gayle rated it liked it
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
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
Grace Stockton
Feb 17, 2016 Grace Stockton rated it liked it
An empathetic optimistic vision of family relationships and the importance of staying connected when the going gets tough. Lots of lively anecdotes which, though reassuring, seem to indicate that the onus of the relationship is always on the parents and that parents, in particular mothers, just need to bite their tongues, put their own needs and views on the back burner and stop offering advice. It's certainly worth a try but at times seems a little trite.
Jonathan Heeb
Easy to read but not particularly helpful apart from reading about other family situations. The author herself states that she wrote the book because she had a hole in her heart and was missing her children whom she loved. It is more a journey into what it might mean to be a parent of adult children than anything else. Written more for parents than their children it does contain some pointers into good parenting for mostly functional families. Where the book is lacking is helping those coming fr ...more
Jan 07, 2014 Wendy rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 15, 2008 Tanya rated it it was ok
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
Jun 18, 2014 Marti rated it liked it
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.
Apr 23, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it
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
Dorothy Okray
A book club selection, I found this book to offer some sound advice. Of even more interest, were the members who revealed their difficulties with their adult children.
Feb 09, 2015 Lis rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Much of the book is common sense, but we all know how challenging it can be to use common sense when emotions and relationships are involved. I found the book much more relevant to the relationship that I have with my parents than with the relationships I have with my 4 grown kids. I think part of it is that things have changed so much from one generation to the next.
Feb 25, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
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.
Jul 27, 2014 Khristy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Offers great advice for parents, sadly lacking in advice for children.
Oct 21, 2011 Barb rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-finish
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
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.
Jul 20, 2007 Marcia rated it liked it
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.
Feb 25, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
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.
Sep 13, 2009 Gabriele rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Aug 28, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
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.
Sep 17, 2009 Penny rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 23, 2008 Timmi rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 30, 2010 Robin is currently reading it
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 liked it
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"
Dec 15, 2010 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 05, 2012 Crystal rated it it was ok
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
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