Kent counselor, author tackles parent, adult-child relationships in book

Linda Herman - Reporter photo
Linda Herman
— image credit: Reporter photo

Some parents today are faced with the tricky situation of adult children returning home to live with them.

Because of the economy and different generational parenting styles, it's become even more common to find multigenerational households. This topic and navigating parent and adult-child relationships is the subject of a new book by a Kent mental health counselor and author.

Linda Herman's book, "Parents to the End," will be on store shelves Jan. 1.

She will make an appearance at retail store Coldwater Creek in Kent Station for a special book signing event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Herman, who privately practiced for 18 years, also was a school psychologist and is a parent to two adult sons.

"This just kind of felt near and dear to me because of my work," she said of the subject matter.

Herman asserts that generational differences in parenting styles of baby boomers and the Depression era generation have left boomers ill-equipped to handle their adult children.

With research and real stories, she looks at issues such as post-adolescent parenting, parental guilt, separation and individuation, the temperament and environment of adult children, substance abuse and severe behavior problems to name a few topics.

In helping her clients, Herman realized there weren't many books out there with practical solutions to help parents take a balanced approach to helping their adult children.

"If there was one word that I would have to describe what I wanted to do in the book, it was really reassure parents," Herman said. "You can get through these things."

She feels that baby boomers are even more of a resource to their adult children than the previous generation and have to understand their kids and their own boundaries with their kids.

Also important is understanding the natural developmental process and where children come into adulthood.

"It's taking longer now," Herman said of the process. "All kinds of signs point that way: the economy, the fact that kids have had parents who are more involved in their lives."

That can be a great thing, she said, but often makes the separation step harder.

She's seen a lot of anxious parents concerned about how their kids are doing and strained relationships. A lot of parents come into her office saying that their adult children feel entitled and they don't know how to stop giving them things.

Adult children were expecting their parents to help them with everything from traffic tickets and medical bills to down payments on houses and expensive shopping items.

"My generation really differed from our parents because they were Depression era and they couldn't help us financially," Herman said.

Parents today have more resources and other factors such as the rise of "Pop Psychology" and the self-esteem movement have created a different dynamic, she said.

"The saying at the front of the book or epigraph was don't handicap your children by making their lives easy," Herman said. "And, I felt that's kind of a strong statement, but we have to be careful not to do too much because it's actually disempowering."



10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Dec. 8, Coldwater Creek at Kent Station, 438 Ramsay Way in Kent

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