Book Review: When Parents Hurt

By Jill Suttie | December 1, 2007 | 0 comments

By Joshua Coleman
HarperCollins, 2007, 312 pages

Joshua Coleman, a psychotherapist and senior fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families, has written a compassionate self-help book for parents who have strained or estranged relationships with their adult children. Taking a refreshingly different viewpoint from many psychologists, Coleman does not blame parents alone for a lost relationship. Instead, he explains the many factors that can cause the parent/ child relationship to go wrong—divorce, drug and alcohol use, incompatibility, and abuse, to name a few—and what can be done to make amends. Though he shows great understanding for the pain and loss parents feel, he also encourages them to take action and reach out to their children, even when the child seems to avoid any contact.

When Parents Hurt presents real-life scenarios and provides specific “dos and don’ts” for parents who need help with communication. While Coleman urges parents to be compassionate toward themselves and their children, he also suggests being patient, for children often change their attitude with time as they recover from addictions, gain some distance, or become parents themselves. His book is enlightening and instructive for parents facing this challenge, as well as for those who aren’t … yet.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Greater Good wants to know:
Do you think this article will influence your opinions or behavior?

  • Very Likely

  • Likely

  • Unlikely

  • Very Unlikely

  • Not sure

About The Author

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s book review editor and a frequent contributor to the magazine.


Like this article?

Here's what you can do:

blog comments powered by Disqus



Greater Good Events

The Science of Burnout: What Is It, Why It Happens, and How to Avoid It
International House at UC Berkeley
April 29, 2017
6 CE Hours

The Science of Burnout: What Is It, Why It Happens, and How to Avoid It

A day-long semiar with GGSC Science Director Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., celebrated compassion teacher Joan Halifax, burnout expert Christina Maslach, Ph.D., and UCLA psychiatrist Elizabeth Bromley, M.D., Ph.D.


Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!


Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.


Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

How Pleasure Works By Paul Bloom Bloom explores a broad range of human pleasures from food to sex to religion to music. Bloom argues that human pleasure is not purely an instinctive, superficial, sensory reaction; it has a hidden depth and complexity.

Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

thnx advertisement