More parents are estranged from their children than ever before. RULES OF ESTRANGEMENT helps to explain why and offers concrete ways parents may be able to heal that estrangement. Awarded five stars on Goodreads.
In the last generation, societal attitudes and effort around parenting have dramatically changed. Today, Millennials in the U.S. face more obstacles to achieving the traditional hallmarks of “success” (both professionally and personally) than previous generations. Previous expectations that children have a responsibility or duty to their parents have diminished.
Instead, today’s adult children have been raised to believe that focusing on their own individual values, goals, and desires gives them the best chance of happiness. Consequently, if a relationship with one or both parents stands in the way of that happiness, that relationship SHOULD be cut away.
Peppered with lots of anecdotes from his own therapy practice, psychologist Joshua Coleman (When Parents Hurt, and others) offers ways for parents to work on their relationships with estranged children, with the goal of having SOME degree of relationship rather than NONE. His approach puts most of the responsibility for healing the rift on the parents, which may be hard for some parents to handle. And the advice he offers is not easy to follow. But the book offers a reasonable explanation of why estrangement has become more common and how parents can channel their reactions (anger, sadness, guilt, etc.) into more potentially productive avenues.
It’s very readable non-fiction and if nothing else, the book helps parents feel better about themselves and shows they are not alone in being estranged from an adult child.
More about the author, Joshua Coleman.