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

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  154 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
How do today’s parents cope when the dreams we had for our children clash with reality? What can we do for our twenty- and even thirty-somethings who can’t seem to grow up? How can we help our depressed, dependent, or addicted adult children, the ones who can’t get their lives started, who are just marking time or even doing it? What’s the right strategy when our smart, ca ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 3rd 2004 by Free Press (first published 2003)
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Maggie
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
totally worth reading, imo. i needed to know that what i was experiencing is/was not abnormal. it's normal: we were never in control of our children (young or matured to adulthood); we were in command ... for a brief period. but then they developed into their own person and our job now is not to fix anything yet to respect and (continue) to love them, forever. i reached a point where i could no longer figure out if i was being supportive or enabling. so now i've drawn the line in the proverbial ...more
Matt
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is my mom's favorite book.
Nancy
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
When I read such self-help books, I am routinely disappointed. No one really addresses MY issue and/or tells me exactly what to do about it. As with this book, the anecdotal stories make me feel better and as if my problems are not that bad. And I generally do take something of value from the books.

"Parents who are adept at promoting their kids' independence share certain characteristics: They're able to satisfy their own needs as well as their children's, and they have a clear sense of their ow
...more
Jay
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Although I was never a Boy Scout, I appreciate their motto “Always be prepared”. In that vein, I read “When our Grown Kids Disappoint Us”, which covers just what the title says. The grown kids the book talks about range roughly from 21 to their 30s (and my kids are a few years shy of this range, hence the preparation). What those kids have done to disappoint are illustrated in a number of stories, including joining cults, getting pregnant wantonly, becoming sex workers, addictions of all kinds, ...more
Marcelle
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book 5 stars not because it is riveting or superb prose but because it's a wonderful book that lets parents know they are not alone. If you struggle with getting your grown children to get out on their own this book will help you realize you are not alone, you don't have to keep it a secret AND - you need to move on from them. It tells you why you need to move on and why it is ok not to help your children forever. Its a good book for any parent to read, especially those with kids in ...more
Rebecca
May 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
It is their story and they are sticking to it. Putting all the blame on the child did not seem to be the way to go. Leaving a little hope for resolving relationships was shorter then I would have liked.
Judy Gaman
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book. Be careful about leaving this one out on the coffee table!
Jeremy
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work


Quotes:

Wanting our kids to be personally fulfilled is a goal unique to our generation. Having gone to sometimes extraordinary lengths to ensure it, it’s no surprise that our kids grow up expecting us to provide it and give up the responsibility for finding it themselves, in the places that truly adult people discover it: in the satisfaction of work, love, connection, commitment, self-sufficiency, and achievement.

We cannot make our grown kids happy. As long as we expect that we can, they will, to
...more
Nancy Martin
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this book very helpful! It covers experiences of parents of the simply aimless to jailed criminals. For every parent who has ever felt guilty, or that somehow their adult child's failure to thrive according to societal or even moral norms, this book is a psychological balm.

Basically, Adam's advice is that we recognize that we have no control or responsibility for our adult children's decisions & lifestyles. She also makes it clear that we can still have a full & happy life in ou
...more
Denise
Nov 02, 2009 rated it liked it
My biggest problem with this book is that it's too short and pretty much sums up what everyone has been telling me for years. As a parent I didn't want my daughter to suffer the same way that I did (coming from a dysfunctional home and scrabbling for money all my life). But I've created a young adult who can't make a job decision without clearing it with Mom first. And yes, I have told her repeatedly that such decisions are HER decision. They aren't mine to make. But she's terrified of being "al ...more
Tina
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book helped me so much. I love the eye opening concept of detachment from my grown kids problems. I highlighted lots of stuff in this book. I keep going back over those pages.
Kate
Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it
"Parenthood is one long exercise in relinquishing control, or the illusion that we ever had it. Post parenthood is about acceptance. While acceptance may seem like passivity, it is anything but, since it liberates us to create our second adulthood in our own way, with nothing holding us back."

This book is helpful for parents who have issues with their adult children...knowing that they are not alone in their challenges, but the reminder that that their are two gifts we give our children: roots
...more
Elizabeth Good
Aug 27, 2013 rated it liked it
The resounding, repetitive message throughout this book is "to learn how to let go" of our troubled children's problems without letting go of them. All of this and get on with whatever life we (who can no longer call ourselves parents) have left on this earth. This is great advice, but extremely difficult to accomplish on so many complicated levels that were not truly addressed in this book. There was something missing in this book, and I cannot quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it was too shor ...more
Go2therock
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I didn't necessarily find the disappointments I've experienced with my own children, but the words of strong encouragement were beautifully shared. Jane Adams managed to not condemn anyone for their choices, but in a way that felt like firm hands upon your shoulders and a straight look in your eyes that called and urged us as parents toward better mental health with loving boundaries, for our sakes and for our kids. Well done.

The later chapter (second to the end?) was my favorite. Less about th
...more
NJFLCHICKIE
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
WHAT AN EYE OPENER FOR ANY PARENT WHO FELT SHAME, QUILT, UNSTEADINESS , WHEN YOUR CHILD DID NOT GROW UP TO BE WHAT YOU WANTED THEIR IS STILL HOPE FOR THIS BOOK MADE ME CRY, LAUGH, I FELT ANGRY AT TIMES BUT IT HELPED BOTH MYSELF AND MY HUSBAND OPEN OUR EYES TO THINGS THAT WE WERE ALLOWING TO HAPPEN "WE WERE THE ENABLER" THIS IS AN AWESOME READ THE PRICE YOU CAN'T BEAT THE INFORMATION WILL SAVE YOU FROM YOUR SELF! YOU DID YOUR TIME NOW YOU HAVE TO WAKE UP! IT IS WHAT IS ! MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE !S ...more
Pam
Feb 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take a pill and call me in the morning. If the answer were that easy. I guess I am somewhat relieved after reading many of the other parents situations with criminal and drug addicted children. Mine, underachievers and not where I wanted them to be at age 30. What is the solution? Love them but detach from their problems. Let them live their own lives and be glad things are not worse. My parents let me make plenty of mistakes and I appear to be in OK shape today.
Hom Sack
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Insightful observations and thoughtful advice. For those who don't have disappointing grown children, it is a relief. For those who do, the intended audience of this book, one can gain solace that they are not alone in suffering from this problem and that most likely others who do have it worse.
jan shaffer
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adult children

I've read a lot of books on parenting and the struggles of adult kids not adjusting well to adulthood and this is one of the best by far, It helps parents deal with guilt and how to have a better relationship with their adult children.
Joyce C
This book is a comfort to those of us who have grown children who just never figured out how to make it on their own. The reason I say it's a comfort is because now I know I am not the only one who has this particular problem.
Shirley
Jan 10, 2014 marked it as to-read
Read a sample want to purchase the book soon.
Chris
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
What can I say? Dave's been back home with us a year this Friday. Maybe the advice in this book will help us cope with his life choices. *sigh*
Camie
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
good reference book for those of us who need to back off and let our kids live their lives
Paula
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Solid advice parents can relate to.
Patrick O'Donnell
Where's the meat?

I felt like the whole book was the introduction. It explained that we are not alone and that it is necessary to separate, but without discussing how to do so.
Judy
Dec 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Helpful book, but did not give enough how-to advice, in my opinion. Good to convince one that it's time to let go.
Debby
rated it really liked it
Jun 27, 2015
Karen
rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2015
Karen Roberts
rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2016
Beth - ;)
rated it liked it
Mar 11, 2011
Hollie Nelson
rated it really liked it
Apr 17, 2013
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Jane Adams, PhD (Seattle, WA, and New York, NY), has been writing and reporting on personal and professional issues in the lives of women for nearly three decades. A speaker, social psychologist, and personal coach, she is a frequent media commentator who has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, the Today show, NPR, and CNN.
More about Jane Adams...