Book Review: Emptying The Nest

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Preparing Young Adults To Succeed

The world is a different place today, much different than just a few years ago when young adults left college with a job in hand and their aspirations set before them.

Today, those dreams are deferred or in some cases dashed as entire job fields have dried up, leaving students wondering where to go next. Many return to the family nest, extending their financial and emotional dependence by several years and, in some cases, unable to take the next step to get back on track.

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Parents are sometimes unsure how to meet the unexpected challenge of having adult children around the house, desiring to help them move forward while maintaining family unity. That can be a challenge especially when offspring aren’t feeling particularly good about themselves.

Dr. Brad E. Sachs, a psychologist and author of a pair of parenting books and the father of three young adult children, offers tips to help parents prepare their children for independence in his latest book, Emptying the Nest (2010 | Palgrave Macmillan).

Toward Independence

Sachs details the struggles today’s families have with launching their children to independence. Today’s parents are often involved intimately in their children’s lives making decisions for them even when they should begin to make decisions for themselves.  We’ve conditioned our children to rely on us for so many things, but we haven’t given them the chance to step out on their own.

Emptying the Nest makes for a good self-help tool for parents as they seek to help their children find their wings and take off. You may have seen the “Failure to Launch” movie and laughed, but you may have also seen a Matthew McConaughey (Tripp) character in your own son. Indeed, some daughters need to find their independence too, with no need to stay under their parent’s care until the “man of their dreams” shows up.

Losing Their Religion

Of course, parenting does have its challenges especially when children reject your religion or particular values. Sachs shared a story of a father, a rabbi, whose first three children continued to embrace their Judaism while their fourth child, a son, began to reject his upbringing. Deeply distressed, the father shared his concerns with a senior rabbi who urged the father to love his son more.

Parenting is complicated and can be extremely complex from child to child and from age to age. Sachs shares tips on how to prepare for separation and how to let go and move on. Sometimes the advice is tough including allowing an adult child to fall down and take his or her lumps but it can be also tremendously rewarding when that adult steps out, establishes a career, finds a spouse and starts a family.

Ultimately, Sachs seeks to help parents maintain a good relationship with their grown children while compassionately demonstrating that severing the apron strings is in the best interests of all.


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Categories: Book Reviews