The author of Walking on Eggshells, Jane Isay, at answered a few questions about her book for us. If you weren’t one of the five winners, I hope that you will click on through and order your own copy. The five winners are announced at the bottom of this interview.
JD: I loved the way that you interpreted the stories–as an enlightening conversation between you and the person you were interviewing for the book. How did hearing all their stories help you in your own personal journey?
Jane Isay: Listening to the wonderful people who shared their stories with me grew my spirit. I realized that I was not alone in being troubled by the distance from my adult kids, and I got wonderful tips about closing that distance. My relationships with my sons and their wives improved. I learned that little, tiny acts of love and acceptance go very far in easing the natural tensions between the generations.
JD: How can this book help those of us who are adult children understand our parents better?
JI: This book tells you about the emotional state of your parents: how much we worry; how guilty we feel about our mistakes; how profound is our wish to save you from the troubles of this world. This new perspective may help adult children see their parents as the ordinary, loving people we are, flaws and all. That may help you put into a different frame the things we do and say that annoy you.
JD: What is one thing that we as adult children can do to foster a better relationship with our parents? What is one thing that parents can do to better their relationship with their adult children?
JI: I found the two magic sentences that begin the conversation leading to closeness. From parent to adult child:
“I’m so proud of you.” Parents don’t have to wait until their adult children win the Nobel Prize to support their strengths. Praise for genuinely good acts is like Miracle-Gro.
From adult kids, the sentence that relaxes the tensions goes like this. Call your mom or dad and say, “Hi, Mom, how are you doing?” A call of consideration that has no agenda is like magic to a worried mom or dad.
JD: What is one thing that we can do to help encourage a great relationship between our parents and our kids (their grandkids)?
JI: Remind yourself that your parents know how to change a diaper, and that a little extra candy once in a while won’t kill your children! The best way to encourage a great relationship between these two generations is to get out of the way and let it happen.
JD: Thank you, Jane.
Five of you will be enjoying your own copy of this book, and should have an email from me: