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 Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators 2017
Clark Kerr Campus, UC-Berkeley
Sunday, June 25 - Friday, June 30, 2017 OR Sunday, July 16 - Friday, July 21, 2017

The Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators 2017

The GGSC’s six-day Summer Institute equips education professionals with prosocial learning strategies, tools and processes that benefit both students and teachers.


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

Roots of Empathy By Mary Gordon Mary Gordon explains how best to nurture empathy and social emotional literacy in all children—and thereby reduce aggression, antisocial behavior, and bullying.

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