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Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out

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Are you struggling to connect with your child now that they've left the nest? Are you feeling the tension and heartache as your relationship dynamic begins to change? In Doing Life with Your Adult Children, bestselling author and parenting expert Jim Burns provides practical advice and hopeful encouragement for navigating this tough yet rewarding transition. If you've rais Are you struggling to connect with your child now that they've left the nest? Are you feeling the tension and heartache as your relationship dynamic begins to change? In Doing Life with Your Adult Children, bestselling author and parenting expert Jim Burns provides practical advice and hopeful encouragement for navigating this tough yet rewarding transition. If you've raised a child, you know that parenting doesn't stop when they turn eighteen. In many ways, your relationship gets even more complicated--your heart and your head are as involved as ever, but you can feel things shifting, whether your child lives under your roof or rarely stays in contact. Doing Life with Your Adult Children helps you navigate this rich and challenging season of parenting. Speaking from his own personal and professional experience, Burns offers practical answers to the most common questions he's received over the years, including: My child's choices are breaking my heart--where did I go wrong? Is it OK to give advice to my grown child? What's the difference between enabling and helping? What boundaries should I have if my child moves back home? What do I do when my child doesn't seem to be maturing into adulthood? How do I relate to my grown child's significant other? What does it mean to have healthy financial boundaries? How can I support my grown children when I don't support their values? Including positive principles on bringing kids back to faith, ideas on how to leave a legacy as a grandparent, and encouragement for every changing season, Doing Life with Your Adult Children is a unique book on your changing role in a calling that never ends.


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Are you struggling to connect with your child now that they've left the nest? Are you feeling the tension and heartache as your relationship dynamic begins to change? In Doing Life with Your Adult Children, bestselling author and parenting expert Jim Burns provides practical advice and hopeful encouragement for navigating this tough yet rewarding transition. If you've rais Are you struggling to connect with your child now that they've left the nest? Are you feeling the tension and heartache as your relationship dynamic begins to change? In Doing Life with Your Adult Children, bestselling author and parenting expert Jim Burns provides practical advice and hopeful encouragement for navigating this tough yet rewarding transition. If you've raised a child, you know that parenting doesn't stop when they turn eighteen. In many ways, your relationship gets even more complicated--your heart and your head are as involved as ever, but you can feel things shifting, whether your child lives under your roof or rarely stays in contact. Doing Life with Your Adult Children helps you navigate this rich and challenging season of parenting. Speaking from his own personal and professional experience, Burns offers practical answers to the most common questions he's received over the years, including: My child's choices are breaking my heart--where did I go wrong? Is it OK to give advice to my grown child? What's the difference between enabling and helping? What boundaries should I have if my child moves back home? What do I do when my child doesn't seem to be maturing into adulthood? How do I relate to my grown child's significant other? What does it mean to have healthy financial boundaries? How can I support my grown children when I don't support their values? Including positive principles on bringing kids back to faith, ideas on how to leave a legacy as a grandparent, and encouragement for every changing season, Doing Life with Your Adult Children is a unique book on your changing role in a calling that never ends.

30 review for Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out

  1. 4 out of 5

    Megan Holl

    2.5 stars. Although I realize I’m not the target audience for this book, a lot of the content made me want to scream. There are some excellent, wise, helpful pointers in here for sure - especially regarding learning not to give unsolicited advice. There’s also a lot of “don’t worry....your adult child will realize that you’re right and they’re wrong eventually. Then they’ll come running home to you”. The assumption is that the parent is always right (RE: values, life choices etc.) and as a young 2.5 stars. Although I realize I’m not the target audience for this book, a lot of the content made me want to scream. There are some excellent, wise, helpful pointers in here for sure - especially regarding learning not to give unsolicited advice. There’s also a lot of “don’t worry....your adult child will realize that you’re right and they’re wrong eventually. Then they’ll come running home to you”. The assumption is that the parent is always right (RE: values, life choices etc.) and as a young adult this was a frustratingly narrow perspective. I would have liked to see a deeper discussion on how to listen thoughtfully and value what your adult children have to share.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Brouse

    Parenting books for kids are everywhere, but no one told me that parenting adult kids would be the hardest phase. This is a must read. I actually think people who are engaged with any adult kids in relationships should read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    This book should be required reading for parents of kids ages 18 on up. Full of really practical wisdom. I heard the author speak a few years ago at my son’s university and he had a couple of insights I’ve used regularly. I didn’t realize this stage of parenting would be so tricky: when to offer wisdom, finances, how to parent without enabling and how to parent with A.W.E (affection, warmth, encouragement) Good Stuff!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bec O'Neill

    Why not read a book from a completely opposing perspective to yours every so often, that was absolutely not intended for you, for the sake of curiosity? To give the author due credit, this is the sort of book would have appealed to the bible bashing elements of my family, and if they read and followed the advice in there, a lot of problems could have been avoided. The advice within is mild, generic, peacekeeping and in alignment with the general inoffensive pop-psychology guidance that you would Why not read a book from a completely opposing perspective to yours every so often, that was absolutely not intended for you, for the sake of curiosity? To give the author due credit, this is the sort of book would have appealed to the bible bashing elements of my family, and if they read and followed the advice in there, a lot of problems could have been avoided. The advice within is mild, generic, peacekeeping and in alignment with the general inoffensive pop-psychology guidance that you would find in a typical airport bookstore, just with an added bible verse here and there. Such as: 'your adult kids want you to listen and they don't want you to lecture them' 'if you want your adult kids to stop acting entitled, stop paying for their rent and phone and car' 'take an interest in what your adult child is interested in'. This book was written by a white, wealthy Christian boomer for other white, wealthy Christian boomers who do American things like 'paying for college', talking at length about 'living by biblical money management and stewardship principles' and having existential crises when their children do things like 'cohabitation' and 'promiscuity'. It encourages parents to reconnect with their adult children by paying for their wedding, doing grandparenting, listening and 'being fun' so that they can happily put off interrogating any of the common reasons their millennial children are avoiding them (homo/transphobia, supporting Trump, being racist). The book is short and doesn't attempt to tackle issues with any sort of nuance, the most salient example being the anecdote of the 'friend from the church who's wife left him for another woman and then his daughter got married to another woman 25 years her senior but 'straightened out' after receiving counselling and coming back to church'. Ticking all the boxes of 'this is what liberal gay agenda wants', 'prodigal child redemption arc' and 'this is why we shouldn't stray from biblical gender roles'. There are other anecdotes like 'sorority girl goes wild and fails all her subjects until mom gets tough and makes her take out financial aid until she lifts her grades' and 'basement dwelling son plays videogames while mom does all the cooking and washes his underpants until dad gets tough and calls a _family meeting_'. A lot of the 'case studies' are Dr Phil minus the ranch. It doesn't deal with any of the causes of fractured relationships or situations where children have legitimate grievances with their parents (or the church for that matter) that require a solution beyond bribing them to attend church through breakfasts at IHOP or pacifying in-laws with free childcare. So of course I couldn't put it down.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Havebooks Willread

    I thought this was quite good--really worth reading. I actually would recommend parents read this earlier than the title might make you think (perhaps when teens are 14-16) as he has some good information about training our children to handle finances and it would prepare a parent to be proactive with expectations instead of reactive in dealing with issues. I thought there were some good tips to help if your adult child is "failing to launch", and the chapter about entitlement and enabling was a I thought this was quite good--really worth reading. I actually would recommend parents read this earlier than the title might make you think (perhaps when teens are 14-16) as he has some good information about training our children to handle finances and it would prepare a parent to be proactive with expectations instead of reactive in dealing with issues. I thought there were some good tips to help if your adult child is "failing to launch", and the chapter about entitlement and enabling was also particularly good (how could I get away with handing this book to a certain few people, I wonder. . .NO! Mind your own business, Shonya!) There were also some excellent tips for adding in-laws to the family and being being both fun and God-honoring in the grandparenting season. There were a couple of points I didn't completely agree with. For example, he had some different counsel/reaction than I think I would regarding "children not embracing my values" and I didn't agree with his attitude toward the culture and its effect on our children. He seems to think it's expected that culture will influence our children more than we can and we just have to accept it. I don't think it has to be that way, nor do I think it is good to just passively give in. But overall, I am glad to have read this book. I thought the section on the season of "emerging adulthood" was especially interesting (and new to me) as psychologists now say the stages of life are: infancy, childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, adulthood, and senior adulthood."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Clayton Keenon

    Practical, common sense advice about setting boundaries and building bridges with adult children who are either just starting into adulthood, stuck in a failure-to-launch, making self-destructive choices, or have walked away from Jesus. There is also a decent chapter on grandparenting. What was missing is the reason I picked it up. I wanted to understand how parents can relate well to their children who are functional, independent adults who simply approach life differently from their parents. I Practical, common sense advice about setting boundaries and building bridges with adult children who are either just starting into adulthood, stuck in a failure-to-launch, making self-destructive choices, or have walked away from Jesus. There is also a decent chapter on grandparenting. What was missing is the reason I picked it up. I wanted to understand how parents can relate well to their children who are functional, independent adults who simply approach life differently from their parents. I have run into a number of people at my church who feel distressed that their children have embraced beliefs or behaviors that differ from what they grew up with. Their kids aren’t imploding or apostatizing, but they do reject some of the values and choices (ahem, politics) of their parents. This puts a strain on the relationship, and these parents want to know what to do. This book would be stronger if there was more on that dynamic.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liberty

    Lots of helpful advice here! Although, admittedly, keeping my mouth shut, as the subtitle suggests, is a great challenge!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janet Ferguson

    This is great advice. It would be a good idea to read it even before your kids leave the nest.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    In the beginning, you think the hardest part of parenting comes with diapers, bottles, and sleepless nights with a crying infant. It isn't until your kids start growing up that you realize each phase brings a unique set of challenges. Toddlers put everything in their mouths, refuse to eat, fight sleep, and climb on everything. Adolescents have no concept of money and don't realize that writing in marker on their dresser drawers, jumping on the couch feet first, or throwing a ball in the house ca In the beginning, you think the hardest part of parenting comes with diapers, bottles, and sleepless nights with a crying infant. It isn't until your kids start growing up that you realize each phase brings a unique set of challenges. Toddlers put everything in their mouths, refuse to eat, fight sleep, and climb on everything. Adolescents have no concept of money and don't realize that writing in marker on their dresser drawers, jumping on the couch feet first, or throwing a ball in the house can result in mom and dad having to come up with the money to replace furniture or appliances they hadn't budgeted for that month. Teenagers come with hormones and a search for identity that often result in emotional outbursts of one kind or another. Most parents think that's the worst of it and in many ways it is. Yet, adult children present their own challenges. This is where I'm at in my life. My kids are now adults. One has a family of his own in a little apartment not too far from his childhood home. The other still lives at home while he completes his college degree. They both have significant others and the oldest has blessed me with my first grandchild. Adjusting from being involved in all aspects of their lives to respecting their autonomy as young adults has been interesting. I've definitely made some blunders along the way and expect that, even with the best of intentions, I'll likely make more in the future. It's hard letting go. It's hard keeping opinions and unsolicited advice to myself. Sometimes I step on toes and hurt feelings, which is not what I want to do. Not at all! So, when I stumbled across this book with its catchy little title, I figured I'd give it a listen. Overall, I'd say this book was definitely worth the listen. What I didn't realize by the title alone, which is all I read before picking it up, is that it was written by a pastor. There's a heavy lean on Christian faith in the text. Bible quotes popped up in almost every section. There were also a few spots that made me a little uncomfortable when it came to discussing lifestyle choices because my personal belief system is not nearly so conservative. However, pushing through those passages was worth it. The majority of the book focused on practical and sound advice. It transcended faith and focused on how to love your children without alienating them or their significant others. It reminded me that the bulk of my job as a mom had happened already and now I'm here to offer support and my unconditional love. My job really is to keep my mouth shut most of the time and when I am invited to speak on serious matters to tread lightly. I also agreed with his encouragement to be the fun grandparent to your babies' babies. Leave the parenting to the parents while you create a warm, safe, encouraging space for your grandchildren to enjoy. I think this book will stick with me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Like most self-help/advice books, this one tells you what you already know. However, for some of us, you need to see it in print to get it through your skull. I am that person. The basic thrust is in the title-keep your big mouth shut and be welcoming. Burns does stress that this doesn't mean we agree with all our adult children choices (they know when they are going against your family's principles, etc.) but that you don't become such a scold that they cease talking to you or sharing. Some of th Like most self-help/advice books, this one tells you what you already know. However, for some of us, you need to see it in print to get it through your skull. I am that person. The basic thrust is in the title-keep your big mouth shut and be welcoming. Burns does stress that this doesn't mean we agree with all our adult children choices (they know when they are going against your family's principles, etc.) but that you don't become such a scold that they cease talking to you or sharing. Some of the issues he tackles are ones that did not pertain to me but there is something in this book for really any parent of an adult child. It is a Christian-based book so know that going in.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Janet Helmcamp

    Needed This Man, oh man! I found out things I’ve been doing all wrong and things I need to start doing. I received so much insight and a little affirmation about my parenting. Adult children are tough. I’d take terrible twos any day over parenting adult children. This was a quick read for me. I needed this for right now, and for the future. This will help. I’ll probably be telling everyone I see about this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Good book. Great concept. A little light, perhaps a better article not a book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Parker

    This was recommended to me by a high school friend whose kids are the same ages as mine. I found half of the book very helpful, insightful and relevant to what i was seeking as the mother of two grown adult children. The other half, while perhaps relevant for others, just didn't fill my boat. This is a christian based book and the chapter on the faith journey of adult children I found very interesting. This was recommended to me by a high school friend whose kids are the same ages as mine. I found half of the book very helpful, insightful and relevant to what i was seeking as the mother of two grown adult children. The other half, while perhaps relevant for others, just didn't fill my boat. This is a christian based book and the chapter on the faith journey of adult children I found very interesting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liana George

    We think that when our children turn 18, parenting ceases. Not at all! It's just another stage of parenting, but oftentimes a slippery one to navigate. This book was full of fresh insights that helped me know when to speak up with my adult daughters and when to keep quiet! Highly recommend! We think that when our children turn 18, parenting ceases. Not at all! It's just another stage of parenting, but oftentimes a slippery one to navigate. This book was full of fresh insights that helped me know when to speak up with my adult daughters and when to keep quiet! Highly recommend!

  15. 5 out of 5

    January

    Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out by Jim Burns, Ph.D 192 pages 4 hours and 19 minutes read by Wayne Campbell Genre: Parenting, Nonfiction Christian, Christian Living, Family Relationships, Self Help, How To, Christianity, Featuring: Transition Parenting, Enabling, Letting Go, Expectations, Grace, Bible Verses, Apologies, Being The Bigger Person, The Advice You Don't Want To Take, Keeping Your Mouth Shut, Failure To Launch, Boomerang Kids, Emerging Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out by Jim Burns, Ph.D 192 pages 4 hours and 19 minutes read by Wayne Campbell Genre: Parenting, Nonfiction Christian, Christian Living, Family Relationships, Self Help, How To, Christianity, Featuring: Transition Parenting, Enabling, Letting Go, Expectations, Grace, Bible Verses, Apologies, Being The Bigger Person, The Advice You Don't Want To Take, Keeping Your Mouth Shut, Failure To Launch, Boomerang Kids, Emerging Adults Rating as a movie: P-13 for adult situations My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Quotes: "They'll never know how far the town is if you carry them on your back." "We are the link to the past, the anchor to the present, and the bridge to the future.” "Be encouraging but not intrusive. You are a consultant at their will. Your job is to be caring and supportive of your child, to mentor only when called upon, and to be your child’s biggest cheerleader." "Prayer of Relinquishment God, I relinquish my children to your care and watchfulness. Give me the courage to let go as they move—sometimes ever so slowly—toward responsible adulthood. Grant me discernment to know when to carefully intervene, and the restraint to do so only when absolutely necessary. I acknowledge that this is one of the hardest transitions I have ever had to make, and that I need your guidance and insight. In all things, help me to love my children as you love them—lavishly and with grace. Amen." "Although there are no formulas or job description templates for making the transition to an adult-to-adult relationship with your child, Cathy and I discovered some meaningful strategies to help you along the way." My thoughts: Just a few days ago, someone highly recommended this book on Facebook, and I jumped on it. It was hard to find a copy, but once I did. I happily got in line. It was a short wait, but it was worth it. This is one of those books you xan read again and again. First of all, it is short, and secondly, it reads like a conversation. Finally, I'm going to have to reread it as a reminder. There is a big mindset shift in this book and change it hard. There are some great stories, but they all didn't register with me. I know I'll never be the couple who gave their son and his wife $60,000 for a down-payment on a home and caused themselves financial hardship. However the story about the daughter-in-law that was said hurtful things to her mother-in-law and talked about her husband like a dog, and the mother-in-law responded by buying her a Starbucks gift card and chocolate every week for nearly a year after they fell on hard times. After that year she called the MIL, invited her to lunch and now they're best friends. I don't think I'll ever be that person either, but maybe with God's help, I could be. This book is fantastic, but I realized I don't have a lot of grace in many areas. Recommend to others?: I absolutely recommend this book to everyone whose parents on any level no matter the age of your child or your spiritual preferences.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Alley

    Greet Book! This book was very helpful in giving direction to parents who have adult children. Life is a series of stages. This book provides many ideas in the next phase of how to treat children who are now adults. The chapter on grandparents as well as the chapter on in-laws was very insightful to avoid meddling but yet be the super mentors for those in the next generation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Basic advice but some good nuggets The advice in this book is pretty basic and not a lot new that I hadn’t heard before, but he writes in a way that is quick and easy to absorb. Definitely some good tips to keep in mind with this book as you journey through a relationship with an adult child.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    This is one of those books I wish I could give another half star to. Nothing earth shattering I already didn’t know but still some good concise pointers to maneuvering through this stage of parenting. The title is harsh...but the reading is not. I have recommended this book to some and they didn’t want to read it based on the title alone...the idea is it’s better to stay quiet in many circumstances but the author is not abrasive in his delivery.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This was supposed to be a “Christian “ book, but the sparse use of verses felt tacked on as an afterthought to fill a quota and weren’t meaningfully applied. That being said, I agreed with much of what was prescribed, but there weren’t any light bulb revelations, it was just mostly good, common sense advice.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book did not turn out to be what I'd hoped it would be. I was looking for ideas on ways to connect and support adult children. This book was much more of 'here's the problem and here's 3 steps to fix it' type book. It felt very negative at times and addressed a lot issues that don't apply to my situation. This book did not turn out to be what I'd hoped it would be. I was looking for ideas on ways to connect and support adult children. This book was much more of 'here's the problem and here's 3 steps to fix it' type book. It felt very negative at times and addressed a lot issues that don't apply to my situation.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Very informative and helpful for my wife and I. Good insight and advice for parenting our adult children going forward. Highly recommend for all parents entering or in the midst of this time with their kids.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I wish I would have had this book five years ago! It gave me sage advice for the future, and also helped me give myself a break in my mind. It affirmed that we have done many things correctly in dealing with adult children. I needed to hear that!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    How we need more of books like these on the market. Jim Burns addresses many pertinent issues of dealing with our adult children. I craved more practical ideas, though. There are also very serious issues that I would have loved a more in depth look. Maybe in his next book. Burns perspective and teaching is so healthy! And it was comforting to know that I am in the same boat with LOTS of other people.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Great insight on being a parent to adult children. Sitting back and keeping your two cents to yourself seems to be the trick. Being a boy mom, my favorite part was the advice given to the mother of the groom..."wear beige and shut up" 😑😔 Great insight on being a parent to adult children. Sitting back and keeping your two cents to yourself seems to be the trick. Being a boy mom, my favorite part was the advice given to the mother of the groom..."wear beige and shut up" 😑😔

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    There aren’t nearly as many books on parenting during the adult stage of our children’s lives but I’m on the hunt. This one was well-written with great nuggets of wisdom throughout.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenni Morgan

    I didn’t love this book. I think my main turn off is that Christianity is presented as a value system rather than reality that cannot be ignored. I teach my children historical Christianity because it is true. In my opinion a strong foundation in apologetics is the best gift I can give my children.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Geetha Chandran

    As we are in this phase of life & enjoying it but at the same time new to the game , I wanted help thinking through my role as mum and amama . I learnt a lot . I’ll share one- “parents are not in the forefront of adult children’s minds , but they remain in the forefront of ours, and that’s the way it should be “

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Before our kids were born and when they were little, I was the queen of reading parenting books. I read them all--Brazelton, Sears, Spock--but I had stopped reading them because our kids were grown and I thought I didn't need them--but then I started thinking I could have a much richer relationship with our adult children if it was not based on criticism about the choices they were making-- when I heard from Mindy Brouse about this book addressing how to do life with your adult children, I picke Before our kids were born and when they were little, I was the queen of reading parenting books. I read them all--Brazelton, Sears, Spock--but I had stopped reading them because our kids were grown and I thought I didn't need them--but then I started thinking I could have a much richer relationship with our adult children if it was not based on criticism about the choices they were making-- when I heard from Mindy Brouse about this book addressing how to do life with your adult children, I picked it up. As I am not a person to keep my opinions to myself if I think our children are making an error, I learned a lot from this book. It is teaching me not to do that. It is basically--keep the mat out, the door open, the ears open and be ready to listen. Don't judge, don't criticize, just support. And if they make a mistake, give love and support, and let them sort it out. There are also chapters on how to make your children self-relliant and how to be grandparents but those were not my issues. I loved the story about Billy Graham welcoming his daughter back when she married and divorced after he warned her against it. The book is told from a Christian perspective and I loved that reminders throughout that God loves your children most of all and you have to trust him. Love their hearts! I knocked this down one star because in the list of items the author thought parents might be concerned about and worried about was gender confusion-i almost stopped reading--I do not consider homosexuality to be confusion and the author is likely in the evangelical camp and not mine on that--but the rest of the book is good and filled with excellent advice if you can get past that.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Catharyn

    PSA. I wanted to hear (audio version) the subject matter presented in this book, but the religious references turned me off. I hadn't seen that mentioned in other reviews, so I wanted to mention it here. PSA. I wanted to hear (audio version) the subject matter presented in this book, but the religious references turned me off. I hadn't seen that mentioned in other reviews, so I wanted to mention it here.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I had multiple people recommend this book to me, and so, eventually, I bought it. The first thing I'd like to say to parents reading this book is "Love ... always hopes." - 1 Corinithians 13:7. The focus of the book seemed to be on adult kids that delay leaving the nest due to various unwise choices. Not leaving the nest doesn't seem to be our issue at the moment with adult children, although I do realize that some kids do boomerang back into it, and we still have a teen at home who hasn't reached I had multiple people recommend this book to me, and so, eventually, I bought it. The first thing I'd like to say to parents reading this book is "Love ... always hopes." - 1 Corinithians 13:7. The focus of the book seemed to be on adult kids that delay leaving the nest due to various unwise choices. Not leaving the nest doesn't seem to be our issue at the moment with adult children, although I do realize that some kids do boomerang back into it, and we still have a teen at home who hasn't reached the adult years yet. So we are not safely out of the possibility of that realm, either. So there were about three chapters of this 9 chapter book (so, 1/3 of it) that was N/A that my review won't cover. In the introduction, the author mentioned that his nine principles were discovered and refined with his own adult children, which makes the engineer in me cringe a little and say that his sample-size for these recommendations was very small. n=3 adult children The book read better than that, though, because he'd talked at conferences and gatherings, as well as with people he'd counselled on other issues and so I think that in reality n > 3, although he didn't say what n is. Nor did he talk about very many cases where those in the gatherings disagreed or had opposite experiences or additional insights. He did talk about a couple opposite experiences, but it was not the focus of the book. Sometimes we just have to take it as wisdom gleaned from years of practice and not a scientific study. Sometimes that's the best we can do. ;) "What are you doing to maintain your [own] emotional, physical, relational, and even spiritual health?" I remember, in the events following my dad's death, watching as my mom did things for herself in each of those categories, perhaps more reflexively than intentionally, but consistently nonetheless. And although I loved on her, I remember thinking that was exactly what I needed from her at that moment - the knowledge that she was taking care of herself, and the example that she set in taking care of herself. To parent with AWE - affection, warmth, and encouragement "You can choose the pain of self-discipline or the pain of regret." That's true not only in young adults learning financial stability, but also in others areas of life as well. Dieting comes to mind. "Delayed gratification is the answer." Again, that's one that can apply to so many things in life, including dieting. There's the concept of validating and respecting their adulthood. The chapter on loving your child's spouse would be good for other relationships as well. "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." - James 1:19 "Adult children don't distinguish between what we consider an innocent remark or desire to fix a problem, and parental control." This one felt odd to me, probably because I seldom, if ever, felt controlled. [One of my sisters felt differently here, so there's a difference in personality coming into play.] If my parents told me as a teen or young adult what worked well for them, I would generally enjoy the glimpse into a different time and place and consider it - appreciate it - but feel no compulsion to act likewise - or to fight it, either, for that matter. Either choice did not diminish my relationship with my parents. They would treat me the same. Automatically feeling like someone's trying to control me is a foreign concept to me. Or automatically trying to do things differently just to be different, either. "When you are intrusive and give unsolicited guidance, your kids don't hear it and they view it as a sign of disrespect." Again, this just feels like a foreign concept to me - feeling disrespected just because someone offers a word of advice. I generally appreciated the attention and the thought for me, whether or not I followed the advice. "Don't make it about you; make it about the health of the relationship." Well, the first part of this I'd unreservedly agree with. Good parenting is never "all about" the parent. But sometimes there are more important goals than the health of the relationship. I can understand turning that phrase on its head and preserving relationship to preserve influence for the more important things over time. But sometimes there are more important things than being well liked. There are even examples often in this book in the setting financial boundaries sections. I think of their functioning independence as being important because one day, if the normal flow of events occur, the parents will not be around to protect and provide and guide their adult children. And other things can be more important than relationship as well. But I also think of Matthew 7:6 where Jesus said, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." NIV. Sometimes we need to refrain from casting our pearls of wisdom around because it only aggravates them - as painful as it is to compare them to swine or to dogs. It's not that we are classifying them as pigs, but that their own behavior in their reactions to pearls - acting like this - classifies them. On the other hand, I remember a beloved uncle saying that he never wanted to say or do anything that drove his children away, even when they disagreed. I remember his son once calling his dad (my uncle) his best friend. And another time, much later on, he said that everything his dad ever said, ever warned him about was true. A nitpick: Proverbs 22:6 was quoted a few times in this book, but it was elevated from a proverb to a promise. While I do have a very high view of all scripture, I distinguish between the types of literature in it. Promises are where God says, "I promise ..." or "I swear by Myself ..." and proverbs are things that usually come true, but are not quite promises. They are pearls of wisdom, natural outcomes that usually occur, but there are exceptions. For example, take the proverb: "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." - Proverbs 10:4, NIV Those who work hard often do profit from it, but that hasn't always been the case throughout history. Slaves haven't. Or if someone works hard for something, then another person comes along and steals it. The expected outcome is that those who work hard benefit from it. It's the normal, usual flow of events, but it's not a promise. I like A. W. Tozer's analogy of truth being like a bird with two wings, that we should balance scripture with scripture because a one-winged bird doesn't fly very well. One example of diligence not leading to wealth is yet another proverb: "A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away." - Proverbs 13:23, NIV It disturbs me a little when people take things to be promises that aren't ... I am always afraid they will be doubly-disillusioned if it doesn't come true, and perhaps disillusioned in God as well. One example of it being wise proverbs, but not promises, comes when the Proverbs give opposite pieces of advice. We'd call it "being between a rock and a hard place." One example that can be pertinent to this discussion is "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." - Proverbs 24:5-6, NIV (We have all acted like fools at one time or another. And again it is not we that classify someone as a fool, but it is their behavior. Biblically, and especially in Proverbs, there are many character-traits for fools.) Wisdom, of course, knows which one of those conflicting Proverbs to pick in a given situation - or the Holy Spirit, as we pray. Or perhaps wisdom recognizes that either way you go, there's no winning this one, or different benefit-cost analysis for each direction to go. But the second proverb of the conflicting pair above shows an aspect that this book didn't consider much - that if we don't speak up, the "fool" won't realize the dangerous direction he's headed. I think this book assumes that such words have already been spoken and disregarded, which puts a different light on it. And yes, as the book said, sometimes reality is a hard teacher, but it does teach natural consequences. This all brings me back to the proverb that was quoted several times in this book, and often in various Christian parenting books: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." - Proverbs 22:6, NIV I would say that's the normal, expected end result - the usual result - but not a promise. That is an important distinction because I think we live in unusual times, at least for our nation, especially as contrasted with those during the times these Proverbs were written, in which our elders are under-valued, and in which youthful peers, which are always important to one, now has an exaggerated importance, and rebelliousness is glorified, not for some noble purpose, but merely for the sake of rebelliousness itself. And there's "Because of the increase of wickedness, the [family] love of most will grow cold ..." - Matthew 24:12, NIV. Current culture is always important to one, but it has become more important than perhaps it has in other eras, to the exclusion of other influences. Failing to recognize this comes into play in preparing a child for society, but also, failing to recognize this may place more blame on the parents of a wandering child than is warranted. As the old saying goes, God is the perfect Parent, but look at how His children turned out! There's a couple other comments I've heard on that proverb (22:6.) One is that while the proverb talks about what the child will do when he/she is old, it doesn't mention anything about the middle years. It includes many who wander and who do return to faith. Secondly, that phrase "the way he should go" is customized for each child, and includes such things as their career and hobbies and interests. I saw my cousin's grandfather (from her other side of the family) out gardening at 99 years of age, and when I asked him about it, he said that when he was about three, his mother took him out gardening with her. It made me smile, and think of this verse. What would I say to all those parents who put their hope in that verse as a promise, rather than as a proverb? ... I don't know, because hope is a very fragile, essential thing, but we want to put our hope in the right things. I would say to put your hope in God Himself. "I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." - Psalm 121: 1, NIV I find it interesting that after I wrote the above book review, I listened to a podcast about pitfalls in reading the Bible. #2 on the list talked about treating Proverbs like promises and even listed the "Train up a child ..." Proverb discussed above. Anyway, it's worth listening to and probably said it better than I did: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iBXUYdN... One reviewer called this book a Dr. Phil-like book. Some complained that there was so much scripture; others that there was hardly any. I would've said that there was a scant amount, but that it was there. I'm guessing maybe 6 passages for the entire 9 chapters. I could be wrong. There could have been more. But it wasn't expository in that it wasn't pulling out the meaning of the passages and then applying them. They were just part of the thought-flow. Several people complained that this book didn't touch on dysfunctional families or when the adult kids have legitimate complaints about their parents. It automatically assumed the parents were right. And there definitely could - and should - have been more humility in that area. He did talk about the James passage about being quick to listen being for parents, too, as well as talking about the power of an apology. So, I'm not sure it entirely always considered the parents to be the right ones, but it did seem to lean in that direction for most of the book. Otherwise, those ideas could be chapters, or even books, of their own. Favorite quotes: "You must love them enough to let them go." "Be encouraging but not intrusive." "We focused on cheering whatever we could affirm." "Words don't always lead to connections, but enjoyable connections lead to words." "If you don't give them respect, it pretty much guaranteed they will close the door on your guidance." "We can never underestimate the power of an apology to bless and heal a relationship." "Change always involves a sense of loss." - C. S. Lewis "Maturity often requires making adjustments to our hopes, dreams, and lifestyles." "Their crisis doesn't need to be your crisis." "Get to know her beyond what is breaking your heart." "God, I release my children to Your loving and tender mercies." "Time, circumstances, and God's relentless love have a way of bringing the wanderers home." "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Anglou "Every day I find reasons amid my pain to be thankful for life." - Joni Eareckson Tada "God promises to walk with you through the shadow of death and back." "Be the in-laws who make it easy for them." "You have done so much for me, God, and even when I am old and gray, I will continue to declare your power and love to the next generation." - Jim Burns' paraphrase of Psalm 71:17-18

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