Books & Literature

Book Review: All Grown Up: Nurturing Relationships with Adult Children, by Celia Dodd

NON-FICTION: When children grow up and become adults we often assume, as parents, that our job is done. In fact it’s just the beginning of a whole new stage in our lifelong connection.

A great way to feel normal about the relationship with your adult kids.

If there is one thing to take from author Celia Dodd’s All Grown Up: Nurturing Relationships with Adult Children, it’s that just like any relationship, there is no “normal.” The question is, is it a healthy, happy, and harmonious one? If not, why not?

In answering questions like Is a relationship with daily contact better than one with a monthly chat?, Dodd notes that just like parenting younger children and teens, comparing your situation with other parents is pointless. Quality can be better than quantity, texting is a mode of communication, and frequency of contact is likely to ebb and flow over time based on where your adult child is at.

Dodd covers what the causes for relationship tensions are, how to bridge the gap, and how to transform an unfulfilling relationship into a worthwhile and happy one. For those with existing quality interactions, she discusses how to continue to maintain them, taking into account future life events where things can often go wrong.

Drawing upon her investigative experience to produce this book, she approached parents and other leading experts to examine the mindsets of both the adult child and their parent.  She explains how well-meaning behaviours from you as a parent can be misinterpreted by your adult child. There are many reasons for this, and it is likely to alter over time as either yourself or your child experiences significant life events such as a death, marriage, birth, and illness. Using a mix of direct quotes as well as her own analysis of the research, she provides guidance.

Right now, are you conscious of where you might upset your adult children? Do you know how to manage that? Do you recognise what is no longer appropriate behaviour now your child is an adult? Work-wise, are you trusting that they are adults and don’t need your help in employment, study, or career matters anymore?  Dodd acknowledges some adult children continue to rely heavily on parental guidance beyond their youth, and there is a chapter devoted to this topic.

A lot of misunderstandings arise as a result of the historical relationship pattern between parent and child; Dodd emphasises the need to change and grow the connection. Sometimes taking a step back from your parental role, for example, is the best way to move forward.

Although this book is directly beneficial and aimed at parents of adult children, it is also useful for grandparents, or adult children who are struggling with their parents’ demands. Her book follows a logical format with a consistent reassurance that there is no normal, and it is not useful to compare. The key is your mindset, a healthy framework, and always thinking ahead.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Bloomsbury Publishing
Released: August 2022
RRP: $32.99

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