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Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child Review by Kathy GelzerBy Nancy Williams
Bethany House Publishing
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55438
As my children get older, I sometimes contemplate, with some trepidation, what our relationship will look like when they are adults. Wanting the best for them, and wanting a healthy relationship but realizing there may be some challenges, I was interested in what this book had to say. Nancy Williams, professional counselor and life coach, has written Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child from a Christian perspective to help parents who are struggling with this life stage.
In 12 chapters, Nancy Williams covers the gamut. The book begins with snippets of stories from both parents and adult children, defines the framework of a healthy relationship, and includes communication tips. The author then moves on to mending poor relationships, establishing necessary boundaries for both parties, and handling disappointing choices your children make. Marriage, in-laws, and grandchildren are covered in depth. Nancy Williams touches on some very tough issues such as living together, marriage partners of a different culture or faith, same-sex partners, and divorce. There is an entire chapter devoted to prayer: how to pray for your children, specific things to pray, waiting on the Lord, and a list of Bible verses. Other difficult situations are also addressed: military families, illness, and disabilities.
The last few chapters of the book focus on self-care and viewing this sometimes difficult stage with fresh eyes as an opportunity for you and your spouse to grow individually and as a couple. "Leaving a Positive Footprint" is a special chapter focusing on memories to make with your adult children and new family members, the example you show your family with the way you live, and finances and possessions. The book ends with a chapter on ways to help your adult children when the time is right and one final chapter on maintaining a good relationship with your grown-up kids.
Each chapter in the book contains plenty of personal experiences, questions for self-examination or discussion, and practical action steps and suggestions. One thing I would like to see added is a bibliography of additional recommended books should one want to explore a chapter topic further.
This is a great book for Christian parents who are embarking on or in the midst of working on their relationship with birds leaving or in the process of leaving the nest. It would be excellent resource for a small group or for you to read with your spouse.