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Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children

Overview

Parentless Parents is the first book to show how the absence of grandparents impacts everything about the way mothers and fathers raise their children--from everyday parenting decisions to the relationships they have with their spouses and in-laws.

For the first time in U.S. history, as the average age of women giving birth has increased significantly, millions of children are at risk of having fewer years with their grandparents than ever before. How has this substantial shift ...

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Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children

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Overview

Parentless Parents is the first book to show how the absence of grandparents impacts everything about the way mothers and fathers raise their children--from everyday parenting decisions to the relationships they have with their spouses and in-laws.

For the first time in U.S. history, as the average age of women giving birth has increased significantly, millions of children are at risk of having fewer years with their grandparents than ever before. How has this substantial shift affected parents and kids? Journalist, award-winning television producer, and parentless parent Allison Gilbert has polled and studied more than 1,300 parentless parents from across the United States and a dozen other countries to find out.

Through her pioneering research, Gilbert not only shares her own story and the significant and poignant effect that this trend has had on her and hundreds of other families, but also the myriad ways these mothers and fathers have learned to keep the memory of their parents alive for their children, and to find the support and understanding they need.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gilbert, a HuffPost journalist and author of Always Too Soon, shares her own story, and those of others, who are raising children without the support and guidance of their own mothers and fathers. Both of Gilbert's parents had died as she reached her 30s, and not only did she ache from their absence, she also admitted to being envious, lonely, and unsure of her ability to be a good mother to her two children, despite the involvement of a loving spouse, in-laws, stepparents, and friends. Deciding to explore her situation in an effort to feel less alone, she started a support group, started a blog called "Keeping Their Memory Alive" and developed an action plan to fill the grandparent gap. While she argues there is no real way to compensate for this primal loss, her book offers some down-to-earth advice for getting on track as a parent, shedding the fear of dying young, talking to children about death, and assuming the responsibility of building a solid family relationship. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Allison Gilbert offers an invaluable resource to anyone trying to find greater happiness as a parentless parent. By deftly exploring this difficult issue with uncommon sensitivity, insight, and just-right humor, Allison shows us how loss often has the unrivaled power to create a deeper appreciation of life and family."—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

"An important look at how the lack of grandparents affects families. Parentless parents know this, deeply. Now everyone else can, too."—Hope Edelman, New York Times Bestselling author of Motherless Daughters and Motherless Mothers

"This book on an unaddressed subject fills the need with empathy and hope."—Library Journal

Library Journal
Gilbert (Always Too Soon: Voices of Support for Those Who Have Lost Both Parents) uses interviews, focus groups, surveys, and her own experience to explore the issues and challenges facing new mothers and fathers whose parents are dead. She discusses the vacuum one feels when one wants to share a child's milestone and the absence of a safety net when one is overwhelmed. She also points out that not having a grandparent is a loss for a child as well. Gilbert offers positive ways of keeping alive the memory of one's parents, such as taking children on a "Grandparent Tour," putting together a slide show or book, and cooking traditional family foods. A memory journal template and survey responses provide further assistance. This book on an unaddressed subject fills the need, with empathy and hope.
Kirkus Reviews

Emmy Award–winning TV producer Gilbert (Always Too Soon: Voices of Support for Those Who Have Lost Both Parents, 2006) discusses "what it [is] like to be a parent without parents."

While the graying of the American population is a familiar demographic, much less recognized is the trend of children spending less time with their grandparents. Increases in life expectancy are more than counterbalanced by the tendency of families to marry and have children at a later age. For the author, who grieved the loss of her own parents, even the most joyous occasions, such as the birth of her daughter, were marred. Her grandparents would never know their granddaughter; they would not be there to offer support when Gilbert faced the inevitable crises of motherhood; they would not be around to encourage their grandchildren's successes. For a time, the author felt resentful of her husband because his parents were still alive, and she was jealous of their close relationship to their grandchildren. Eventually, Gilbert founded the nationwide network Parentless Parents, and she writes about how interacting with others struggling with the same demons helped her to heal. "Indeed, more than even in their own spouses and siblings," writes the author, "parentless parents find comfort in one another." While parenting without the support of one's own parents is difficult, Gilbert realizes that being orphaned at any age and not having children is much more of a loss. Along with the practical advice (e.g., keeping a memory journal), the author's moving stories should open an avenue of help for readers facing similar situations.

Although somewhat repetitive, the book provides a welcome reversal of the all-too-prevalent tendency to regard the elderly as a burden rather than a resource.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401323516
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Allison Gilbert is the author of Always Too Soon. She has written for numerous newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, and is a now a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. She is the founder of Parentless Parents, a nationwide network of parents who have experienced the loss of their own mothers and fathers. Allison is also a public speaker and an Emmy award-winning television news producer. She graduated from Georgetown University and lives in New York with her husband and their two children.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    Great book

    Awesome book...read it!

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