Distant Parents

Jacob Climo, Author Rutgers University Press $40 (279p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1796-4
In highly mobile America, not enough attention has been paid to the increasingly common relationship between parents and adult children who live far apart, argues Climo, an anthropologist at Michigan State University. While his study of 40 faculty members and their spouses turns up some useful information, it is hampered by turgid academic language and a preoccupation with the banal. He detects three types of children: the ``displaced,'' who wish they were physically closer to their parents, the ``well-adapted,'' who have a secure relationship with their parents and the ``alienated,'' who are happy to live far away from their parents because they lack emotional closeness. Using that typology, Climo analyzes his subjects' memories of leaving home, their communication via letters and phone calls, routine visits (he probes the five phases of a visit, including preparation and settling in) and their responses to their parents' health problems and to transitions such as death and remarriage. Finally, he advises ways children can improve the relationship: work on communication skills and believe that parents can change and grow through self-help. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 07/01/1992
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-8135-1797-1
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