It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development

It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development

by Janis Clark Johnston


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It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development by Janis Clark Johnston

While advice abounds from a variety of sources before parents embark on their parenting journeys, the only parent preparation we actually receive comes from our family and peer stories. Yet most adults do not realize that in day-to-day challenges of guiding our children, something interesting happens. As we steer our children through life, we reopen our own childhood roads. Just when our child most needs us, we become needy ourselves: as adults and parents, we find that we have unresolved raising issues, basic needs that were not met in our childhoods. Our needs and memories echo and influence many of the parenting decisions we make, even though we’re unaware of those influences at times.

Fortunately, children help parents reach their needs as much as their parents help them fulfill their own. Our child ends up guiding us, by connecting us to some earlier time in our life when we encountered distress. We dredge up a lesson, and we adapt by adhering to or changing the story that we tell ourselves about who we are. We re-negotiate the five basic needs that surface from our childhood memories as our youngsters pass through each of the developmental phases. The self-aware parent focuses on creative problem solving by focusing on one interaction at a time.

It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent offers an exploration of how our own childhood memories and needs influence and shape our parenting decisions in our adult lives. Offering tips, stories from a variety of families, and step by step exercises, Janis Johnston helps parents better understand and grasp the tools necessary to face parenting challenges head on, and to explore new ways of understanding ourselves, our children, and our family interactions. Expectant parents and current parents interested in understanding their own personality development as well as the many moods of childhood and their own children, will find clear guidelines for understanding their roles in their children’s lives as well as concrete suggestions for how to navigate the choppy waters of raising children.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442221611
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 380
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Janis Clark Johnston, EdD, has worked as a school psychologist in public schools, a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee assistance therapist, and a private practice family psychologist. She received the 2011 Founder’s Award in appreciation for her dedication to the mission of Parenthesis Family Center, Oak Park, IL. Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center in Oak Park, IL, honored Johnston in 2002 with a Community Spirit Award for her support of teen dating violence prevention/intervention programming for local high school students. Johnston has published journal articles in a variety of journals and co-authored two book chapters. Currently, Johnston is a family psychology consultant in Oak Park, Illinois. The author's website is

Table of Contents

Author’s Note

Introduction: Children Raise Parents, and Parents Raise Children

Part I. What’s the Story?
1.Let’s Understand Five Basic Needs
2.Discover What a Personality Story-house Says about Us
Part II. Meeting Needs, Our Child’s and Our Own
3. Energy Needs: Are You an Engineer, or Are You Enslaved to Ennui?
5.Discipline Needs: Are You a Disciple, or Are You Disorganized in Disorder?
6.Creativity Needs: Are You a Composer, or Are a Clone to Conformity?
7.Belonging Needs: Are You a Buddy, or Are You Belittled by “Belonging Blues?”
7.Ability Needs: Are You an Archer, or Are You Alienated with Apathy?
Part III. Modeling Self Territory
8. You Can Map Your Personality
9. Learn to Connect the Dots in Self Territory

Chapter Notes

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