cover image Walking on Eggshells: Staying Close to Your Adult Children

Walking on Eggshells: Staying Close to Your Adult Children

Jane Isay, . . Doubleday/Flying Dolphin, $23.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-7679-2084-1

As baby boomer parents age, they're discovering the empty-nest syndrome is nothing compared to what happens when their kids graduate from college and start leading lives of their own. To a generation famous for being involved in every aspect of their children's lives, it can be upsetting to find that those children no longer need or welcome your advice. How does one parent children who no longer need parenting? Publishing veteran Isay, an editor and mother of two grown sons, interviews scores of parents and adult children of all ages to see how they are doing it. The stories are heartwarming, and Isay recounts them with intelligence and compassion. What does she find? Nothing Ann Landers hasn't already told us. Mainly: don't give advice; make friends with your children's significant others; and remember that love heals. The most compelling story is Isay's own. One wishes it were the centerpiece of the book rather than tacked on as an epilogue. Her experience is an example of her most interesting discovery: children are quick to forgive and often the ones who take the initiative in forging a new brand of closeness between themselves and their parents—a closeness that is best described as adult. (Mar. 27)