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.

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