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Review: Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child

secrets to parenting your Adult Child

A large part of raising children is about preparing to let go.  A large part of homeschooling is about preparing children to grow up and become independent.  And then, we think, when the child has become an adult, we will be finished.

Apparently not.  Letting-go can be a tricky process as parents and their adult children adapt to new ways of relating.  And, moms being moms, we also want to support our adult children when they need us, but without affecting their independence or being overbearing.

Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child by Nancy Williams, life coach and counselor, aims to help parents “lovingly and effectively support our adult children while also caring for ourselves.”  Not only are their lives changing; so are ours. Although the focus is, to some extent, on adult children who need extra support or who are especially challenging, there is wisdom here for each one of us.

Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child discusses how to

  • understand and accept the new role of coach,
  • create a fresh start if necessary,
  • set healthy boundaries and follow through on them,
  • handle disappointments both in the child’s and the parent’s life,
  • understand and accept how in-laws and grandchildren change our relationships with our children,
  • pray for our children,
  • support our children through special challenges (e.g. military service, illness),
  • care for ourselves, especially during stressful and draining times,
  • pass on a legacy of family history, authentic living, and the fruits of the Spirit,
  • prepare ourselves to assist adult children with information about housing, first, aid, cars, meals, budgets, family birthdays, and more…if desired and without strings attached.
  • keep the welcome mat out, but accept that our children are busy, too

Each chapter begins with a relevant quote and then, in a chatty way, discusses the issue at hand.  “On a Personal Note” at the end of each chapter helps the reader apply these concepts.  While this book does contain some helpful lists (for communicating, coaching, setting boundaries, coping, praying, and more), they are not easy to find. (I just dog-eared the relevant pages.)  An index could have made this book much more useful.

Christianity is a background assumption and guiding thread throughout this book.  Over and over, Nancy reminds us that God loves our children more than we do.  However, the issue of how to relate to an adult child who is obviously sinning is not discussed thoroughly.  If an adult child is living with the parents, Nancy encourages the parents to set well-thought-out boundaries and expectations to address this problem.  If the child is living away from home, in a same-sex relationship, for example, the book provides no guidance other than the pat concept of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin.’

I must confess that the word ‘parenting’ in the title rubs me the wrong way.  We do not need to parent our adult children.  Of course, we are still there for them and we are still the parents, but the relationship changes, even if the adult child is having a difficult time and making foolish choices.  That is what the book itself says, too, but the title is unfortunate.

As we homeschooling moms prepare our children for the world of adulthood, we often forget to prepare ourselves.  There will be relationship changes as well as profound changes in our lives and roles.  If you are a Christian and the kind of person who likes to think about such things, this book will be helpful.  If you are the kind of person who scoffed at books about training toddlers, you’ll probably also scoff at Secrets to Parenting your Adult Child.  To see if this book might be helpful for you, please read this excerpt.

Disclosure:  This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and is available at your favorite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

This is my 9th book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

One Comment

  1. JoAnn says:

    Thanks for the sweet words on the blanket I made. Yes, you did tell me you liked the blanket, but you told me on my blogger blog. I have 3 blogs, one on HSB and two on blogger. 🙂 Sometimes I write different entries for each blog, sometimes I copy the same entry. Just wanted to let you know that you did tell me. 🙂

    The book sounds interesting. Thanks for such a good review.


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