Book Review – Parenting Your Adult Child

Parenting Your Adult Child: How You Can Help Them Achieve Their Full Potential

By Ross Campbell, M.D. and Gary Chapman
174 pages, Northfield Publishing
ISBN 18881273121

Goodreads rating: 3.94 out of 5

As part of our church’s 2018 theme of Community Transformation Through Family Discipleship, this month we are looking at a book that focusses on how to deal issues surrounding your grown-up children. As parents and families mature, we tend to assume the children will grow up and establish their own lives, as did the previous generation. But in the context of Malaysian families in the 21st century, things are very different from before. Today, we have labels for these groups – Generation X, and then followed by the Millennials (or Generation Y). The older generation tend of have the same complaints about them – lack of work ethic and motivation, short attention span, dependency on technology, poor financial discipline, etc. But on the flipside, if you look deeper you see that they deal with a plethora of different struggles – rising cost of home ownership, depression due to expectations from their families and society, and alienation due to poor social skills.

As PJEFC strives to improve the relationships within the family unit, this book will help some parents and grandparents grasp a better perspective of their adult children.

This book seeks to equip parents and grandparents to deal with the younger Generation X and Millennials and help them deal with the issues that did not exist in the previous generation. They start by explaining the background of this group of children and the environment they were brought up in that influence their worldview today. The book then touches on the few major issues that parents face – e.g. when your child does not succeed, when they do not wish to leave home, when they choose a lifestyle that conflicts with you, etc. The book discusses each issue in a relatively in-depth manner, and gives ways to response and support your children. There are no surefire ways to fix any problem, but the authors strive to give their professional advice that is also laced with biblical principles. By using examples from their research and own experiences, the authors draw from a rich depository that will resonate with some of us here in Malaysia. One example that we found very familiar was how the younger employees complain to their seniors that they’ve set an impossible standard of work ethics by working far too many hours a week. The younger employees want to work hard, too, but they also want work-life balance to enjoy other interests.

While this books is US-centric, most of the issues addressed here are quite relevant to us here in Malaysia. The book is very well researched and written, and we especially like the balance between empirical-based advice and biblical perspective. Each of the chapters are well-contained, outlining the problem, the symptoms and the response. We also like the final two chapters that leave on a positive note to encourage the readers.

It is on a moderate difficulty level, as this a rather complicated subject matter. However, an average reader can still read understand it well. 

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