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I'm OK, You're My Parents: How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works [NOOK Book]


A guilt-free guide for adults seeking more satisfying relationships with their parents

In a recent study, half of all Americans rated their relationship with at least one parent as either "poor" or "terrible," and more than a third felt this way about both parents. As life expectancy continues to rise and the parent-child relationship extends further into adulthood, this problem is becoming more prevalent than ever. Now, psychologist Dale Atkins presents a step-by-step plan for...

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I'm OK, You're My Parents: How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works

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A guilt-free guide for adults seeking more satisfying relationships with their parents

In a recent study, half of all Americans rated their relationship with at least one parent as either "poor" or "terrible," and more than a third felt this way about both parents. As life expectancy continues to rise and the parent-child relationship extends further into adulthood, this problem is becoming more prevalent than ever. Now, psychologist Dale Atkins presents a step-by-step plan for adults trying to come to terms with parents who are only human--before it is too late.

In I'm OK, You're My Parents, Atkins applies the same intelligent, no-nonsense approach that's made her a frequent guest on top-rated TV shows. She urges a restructuring of the relationships between adults and their aging parents and gives practical, specific advice on how to exorcise the demons of anger and resentment, untangle financial arrangements that cause stress and feelings of powerlessness, set limits on your parents' demands for time and attention, turn a spouse or friends into a powerful resource, overcome your own resistance to change, and discover the redemptive power of humor.

This book draws on Atkins' twenty-five years of experience as a relationship expert to present a comprehensive guide to repairing difficult relationships, gaining control, and building a life that you and your parents can live with for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Psychologist and media commentator Atkins draws on her experiences with clients to offer a prescriptive program to adults who have difficulty dealing with their parents. She describes a variety of common ways adults handle these relationships, such as still craving approval from parents, preferring to have as little contact as possible with them and feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a caretaker to aging parents. Atkins is extremely helpful when discussing these situations. She uses specific examples to help readers identify. She explains, for instance, that daughters and sons may be sending messages with their body language: "realize that changing your body language with [your parents] can be one of your most effective tools of persuasion, because body language is, for the most part, subliminal. Your parents may not know what's different about you, but they will register this change deep down." Atkins's detailed suggestions of behavior modification are sound, but her suggestion that readers do a fair amount of psychological exploration may turn off some. The book's last section, however, on troubleshooting, brims with valuable advice. It offers advice on what to do when "They Manipulate Me with Health Crises (Real and Imagined)"; "They Make Themselves a Little Too Much at Home"; "They Think I Am a Bad Parent"; "They Manage to Slip an Insult into Every Conversation"; "They Want Too Much of My Time"; and other common complaints. 10 b&w illus. (Apr. 15) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
These self-help manuals for adults seeking to better their family relationships emphasize that readers can change only themselves and their own reactions-not the actions of others. A therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Sichel concentrates on relationships where one family member refuses contact with another, not limiting his discussion to parent-child rifts. Among other strategies, his ten steps lead readers to deal with their own trauma, learn to love themselves, understand family myths and roles, build supportive relationships with others (their "second-chance family"), and try to heal the break if possible. Drawing on stories from Sichel's patients and from personal experience (his father broke with him twice), this book is sure to be read eagerly by those in difficult family situations. For public libraries. Atkins, a licensed therapist and media commentator, addresses parent-adult child relationships from the perspective of the adult child. At times highly specific, her advice directs readers to change their behaviors to improve relations with their parents. She advises letting go of anger and unrealistic expectations and then using such tools as flattery, voice tone, manipulation (called saviorizing), honesty, and withdrawal to change interactions. Readers who desire a more democratic approach-that is, one that takes into account the perspective of parents-should look elsewhere; Atkins, a regular on the Today Show, counsels a specific audience. Also for public libraries.-Kay Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466856820
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/12/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 892,986
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Dale Atkins, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and media commentator who appears regularly on the Today Show. The author of five books, she has contributed to such national magazines as Ladies’ Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, and Parents. She lives in Westport, Connecticut.

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Read an Excerpt

From I’m OK, You’re My Parents:
“I’d kill him,” said Luanne, “but that would nullify the will, right?” I told her it was a good sign that she was still able to joke about the situation. At least that meant she hadn’t given up entirely. Her husband, Kurt, though, sat stone-faced.

Luanne was talking about her father, a well-known lawyer. The problem was that he was using his money to manipulate them, and he was doing his usual crackerjack job. Kurt was
struggling in his advertising career and Luanne’s father seemed to be making the most of that.

“He’s fantastically rich and he dangles her inheritance in front of us all the time,” Kurt
sputtered. “Whenever he thinks we aren’t seeing him enough or giving him enough time with the grandchildren or when he feels we haven’t been sufficiently reverential, he drops little hints about adjusting his will. I try not to react, but I feel so humiliated I can’t sleep.”

What they didn’t say until I coaxed it out of them was that they already regularly took money from her father, always let him pick up the tabs at their frequent dinners together (he always chose the place, naturally), and allowed him weekly toy-shopping sprees with the twins. Strange, isn’t it, how money, which is supposed to buy freedom, so often winds up purchasing little more than slavery?
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Sit Down Before You Read This 1
Part I Past, Tense
1 Making Sure Your Past Doesn't Last 13
2 Leaving It All Behind: A Word about Becoming an Adult 27
3 What Have You Done for Me Lately?: A Word about Guilt 32
4 The "Gift" That Keeps On Taking--and Taking: A Word about Anger 39
Part II Present Imperfect
5 What You Need to Know about Your Parents 53
6 Your Fantasy Parent Doesn't Live Here Anymore 63
7 The Relief of Having Reasonable Expectations 71
8 The Urge to Merge--and the Need to Diverge 75
9 You Say You Want a Revolution. But Are You Your Own Worst Enemy? 78
10 Seeking a Second Opinion 81
11 Button Up Your Panic Buttons 88
12 Keeping Your Eye on the Prize 97
13 Building Fences 101: The Art of Creating Boundaries 102
14 Getting Your Spouse in Your House 111
15 Role-Playing with the Punches 140
16 Laughing through the Apocalypse 148
17 Making Your Body Say What You Mean 152
18 Toning Down Your Tone of Voice 157
19 Reaching for the Words That Reach Them 162
20 Diversion: Learn to Love the Bait and Switch 169
21 Let Them Be Your Savior--or at Least Think They Are 172
22 Disarm Them with Honesty 177
23 Flatten Them with Flattery 180
Part III Future Shock: Troubleshooting the Hotspots 185
24 They Manipulate Me with Health Crises (Real and Imagined) 187
25 They Make Themselves a Little Too Much at Home 201
26 They Don't Like My Spouse ... or That I Don't Have One 211
27 They Are Not There in the Way I Need Them to Be 224
28 They Want Too Much of My Time 232
29 They Are Offended When I Don't Share Personal Details of My Life 238
30 They Put Me in the Middle of Their Marriage (or Divorce) Problems 245
31 They Manage to Slip an Insult into Every Conversation 255
32 They Expect Constant Admiration and Attention 263
33 They Embarrass Me 270
34 They Use Money to Manipulate Me 278
35 They Think I Am a Bad Parent 293
Conclusion: A Word about When to Give Up 306
Bibliography 308
Acknowledgments 310
Index 311
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2004

    Good self-help

    This self help guide is to assist adults dealing with estranged or non-relationships with their parents or for that matter any other adult as the suggestions apply. Dr. Dale Atkins makes a case that the individual can only control his or her behavior and not that of the other person involved in a dysfunctional relationship. The author furbishes steps to enable the participant to let go of their anger and replace it with positive honest actions and reactions....................................... This manual is easy to follow though results are never guaranteed because there are at least two parties in the relationship, but at least the reconciliatory member will be able to look at his or herself in the mirror and know they tried. This work is well written and simple to use because the concentration is on changing you not the other party. If you want to wear the shoes of the other person, try a different self help book, but if you want to try to draw a straight line from you to other adults rather than a broken meandering curve then I'M OK, YOU'RE MY PARENTS, is the right stuff. Just don¿t expect instant miracles as the dysfunction took time to create....................... Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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