Joshua Coleman, Ph.D. writes a very wise and helpful book called “When Parents Hurt — Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along.” This book is one of my favorites, and I highly recommend it to clients. Coleman offers insight, empathy, and perspective to those who have lost the opportunity to be the parent they desperately wanted to be and who are mourning the loss of a harmonious relationship with their child. Through case examples and healing exercises, Dr. Coleman helps parents:
- Reduce anger, guilt, and shame
- Learn how temperament, the teen years, and their own or a partner’s mistakes, and divorce can strain the parent-child bond
- Come to terms with their own and their child’s imperfections
- Develop strategies for rebuilding the relationship or move toward acceptance of what can’t be changed
By helping parents recognize what they can do and let go of what they cannot, Dr. Coleman helps families develop more positive ways of healing themselves and relating to each other.
The essential principles of this book state that your relationship healing can be strengthened as you begin to:
- Fearlessly take responsibility for whatever ways that you have contributed to the problems in your relationship with your child or children
- Make amends for the ways that you were wrong
- Move toward forgiving your child for how he or she hurt you in the past or in the present (this doesn’t mean condoning or excusing bad behavior, or minimizing your hurt)
- Move toward forgiving yourself for your mistakes as a parent
- Develop compassion for your child
- Develop compassion for yourself
- Move anger, guilt, shame, and regret into the background of your life and move hope, gratitude, and optimism into the foreground
- Develop and identity and life story based on your strengths and achievements as a parent and individual, instead of a story about your suffering or failures
- Get and maintain support from friends, family, or your faith
- Give something back to society
Joshua Coleman, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert in parenting, couples, families, and relationships. His advice has been featured in the New York Times and he has appeared on the Today show, 20/20, Good Morning America, and many other programs. The is the author of two critically acclaimed books, The Marriage Makeover and The Lazy Husband.
Coleman, J. (2008). When Parents Hurt – Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along. Collins Living.