I donít think I have ever met a person who wasnít at one time or another angry at or distressed over or annoyed with their parents. In fact, I know quite a few people who just plain canít stand the couple that brought them into this world! Which is why psychologist and lecturer Dale Atkins, Ph.D. has tapped into a HUGE potential readership with her book Iím OK, Youíre My Parents: How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works. If you have parents, biological or adoptive, you will want to read this book.
The author focuses on common issues and problems between parents and adult children, such as dealing with parents who show preferential treatment, parents who insult, parents who belittle and demean, parents who are too clingy or too distant, parents who use money to control their children, hypochondriac parents, and the oh-so-common guilt-tripper parents. This is not a book about parents who are brutally abusive, which the author points out time after time, and therefore is geared towards a more general and widespread readership, for most of us were not victims of terrible physical or sexual abuse, but we WERE victims of manipulation, guilt trips, nastiness, ignorance and other such human foibles.
What is wonderful about this book is that it combines the authorís own research with clients in a clinical setting with suggested exercises and ideas the reader can actually use to improve their relationship with their parents. The resolutions are practical and workable, and the information provided is empowering not just for the reader, who is most likely the adult child, but also for the parents who will hopefully be positively affected by these techniques and concepts. I also loved the many hilarious cartoons peppered throughout the book that will have many a reader chuckling, if not cringing, in recognition.
The common problems between parents and children are delved into with warmth and humanity so that we, the readers, always come away with the understanding that we are dealing with human beings we may not know as well as we thought. Many of the personal stories of clients who came to better know their parents through their conflicts with them are moving and emotional, as well as highly illustrative of how just the right strategy is so crucial to improving relations. I found myself really looking at my own parents much differently, taking them off that darned pedestal we often place them upon and realizing they often did the very best they could. And I was equipped with some new strategies for dealing with those times when they do drive me crazy, or make me angry, or make me wish I were an orphan!
Iím OK, Youíre My Parents teaches the reader how to be a better adult child, but it also provides plenty of subtle tools that can be used to help our parents be better parents and better people. All of this, of course, makes for stronger and more satisfying relationships, something the author insists is possible no matter what problems exist if patience, love and kindness are put into action. This is a great resource for anyone wanting to be a wiser and more resilient adult child, and desiring to have a stronger, more even relationship with either parent or both. After all, it is only by understanding what our parents are going through that we become better able to be parents ourselves. Sometimes, the stories of our parentsí hopes and dreams and fears and shortcomings will surprise us Ė because they are the same as ours.