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  • Writer's pictureLiz W.

Review of "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" by Lindsay C. Gibson

Intro to the Review

We have all had that experience of enthusiastically starting a new book only to realize partway through that it's not what we were expecting. The purpose of the following review is not to judge whether the book is "good" or "bad." The goal is to help you decide whether or not it is a good book for you.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Does it seem like the content covered in this book aligns with what I was expecting to find?

  • Is the main problem addressed in this book similar to my own goal of what I would like to learn from it?

  • Is the style and format written in a way that will not hinder my ability to get the most value from this book?

  • Am I the intended audience for this book?

If after reading the review you can answer yes to all these questions, this book is the right fit for you. If not, well, there are plenty more books out there just waiting for you to read them.

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

Lindsay C. Gibson

216 pages - Ⓒ New Harbinger Publications 2015

“Accepting the truth of your feelings and thoughts doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a whole person, and mature enough to know your own mind.”

Author Background

Dr. Lindsay C. Gibson is a licensed clinical psychologist and spent many years teaching clinical psychology to doctoral students at College of William and Mary and Old Dominion University. She considers herself to be an avid student of human behavior.

Her corresponding book Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents (2019) was created as a sequel to Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. She is also the author of "Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Life's Purpose" (2020. It can be found here.

Her website can be found here.

What Problem Does This Book Attempt To Address?

Children who grew up in households with parents who were emotionally immature share similar experiences in adulthood. This includes challenges with romantic relationships, self-esteem issues, and trouble having a healthy relationship with their parents into adulthood. The book addresses the experiences these children go through and how it affects them well into adulthood. It first helps readers identify an emotionally immature parent. Then it walks through the steps necessary to heal yourself and concludes by offering advice on how to maintain a healthy relationship with your emotionally immature parents going forward.


· Concept explanation: Clear

· Related stories: Average

· Data references and studies: Many

· Charts and graphics: None

· Practical application: Strong

The progression of the content starts as highly informative and ends in the practical realm of self-discovery and application. The first chapter is written to empathize with those who experienced a lack of emotional intimacy in childhood. The next few chapters discuss what emotionally immature parents looks like and how it affects the children of these parents. This is followed up by sections about how children adapt to having emotionally immature parents and how it impacts them in adulthood. Finally, the practical application in the last three chapters brings everything together. It wraps up the book nicely and gives readers a solid plan on where to go next by offering a step-by-step guide to interacting with your parents, and an FAQ on how to handle common struggles and avoid pitfalls.

There are stories throughout each subsection demonstrating the concept in a real-life situation. They are diverse enough to show the range of experiences adult children with emotionally immature parents can have. They are concise enough to make the purpose of it being included in the book obvious.

There are many references cited throughout the text, but only a minority are described directly in the text. Because of this, it does not feel like reading a textbook or a scientific study, but is still being well-referenced.

There are exercises included in most chapters. Rather than forcing uniformity by including one exercise at the end of every chapter, the author decided to include the exercises right at the point in the chapter where it felt most relevant. Some exercises focus on self-reflection and others include specific action steps. They are all straightforward and easy to do.

Something to be aware of before you begin reading is that there is a lot of information all packed into the first few chapters of this book. Don’t expect it to be able to skim these chapters and remember much of what you read without taking some notes.

Writing Style & Presentation

· Tone: Relaxed and educational

· Organization: Below average

· Flow: Below average

To expand on where I left off, yes there is a lot of information in the first half of the book, but many times the amount of information felt overwhelming due to the organizational choices made throughout the sections. In the big-picture view, the organization of this book is fantastic. In the small-picture view, the flow of the paragraphs and stories are written well. It is in the middle where both the organization and flow struggle. More than once I had to go back and check what the main topic was when I was mid-way through a list or a subsection. There also seems to be times where things are separated in a way that seems over-organized. It is almost as if things are too compartmentalized to easily understand how it all fits together with the main subject. This definitely breaks up the flow and slows reading down because you are trying to learn the information while also trying to remember in what context the information is being presented. In the later sections, which are less information dense, this becomes less of an issue. In these later chapters, it’s much easier to keep track of the topic at hand. Creating an outline may come in handy to keep everything organized as go through the book.

Bringing It all Together

One thing done really well: Creating a path from learning to self-discovery to practical application as a seamless progression over the course of the book.

One thing that could be better: The mid-level organizational decisions make it challenging to understand where the information fits in relation to the main topics.

One main thing I took away from this book was: You cannot control who your parents are or how they raised you, but you can learn to understand the cause of their behavior. From there you can find a path forward for yourself and your relationship with your parents as an adult.

Overall Recommendation

Who I would recommend this book for: People who are struggling with their relationship with their parents and want to understand them better, or learn a different way to approach the relationship.

Who I wouldn’t recommend this book for: People looking for advice on how to get their parents to change. It is stated several times that this is not the goal of the book.


Enhance Your Reading by Using a Workbook

If you have decided this book is a good fit for you, I have created a workbook to help you get the most value from reading it. Here is a small sample of the material contained in the workbook.

Your workbook includes:

  • Pre-reading questions

  • Chapter discussion questions with space for writing answers

  • Space to write your own summary for each chapter

  • Vocabulary words with space to write definitions and add words

  • Key terms with space to write definitions and add words

  • Chapter reflection questions

  • Final reflection questions

  • A condensed list of all discussion questions and vocabulary for reference

  • Reflection pages for writing thoughts and ideas

Discussion Question Preview

Below you will find a small sample of the discussion questions provided for every chapter of this book.

Key Terms Preview

  • Affect phobia

  • Awakening stage

  • Driven parent

Vocabulary List Preview

Acquiesce: (v.) To consent or comply passively or without protest:

Arduous: (adj.) Demanding great effort or labor;

Disparage: (v.) To speak of in a slighting or disrespectful way. the workbook to see the full list!

Where to Find the Workbook

All available workbooks can be found on Amazon and are free to Kindle Unlimited members.

You can find this particular workbook by clicking here.

Your Feedback is Appreciated!

Are you a student? A teacher? A manager? A parent? Why did you decide to use a workbook and did it help you get more from the book you were reading? Please share your story so I can continue to make these workbooks a valuable resource to you and others.

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