The 8 Seasons of Parenthood: How the Stages of Parenting Constantly Reshape Our Adult Identities

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9780812930856: The 8 Seasons of Parenthood: How the Stages of Parenting Constantly Reshape Our Adult Identities

Every parent knows that the experience of raising children changes us profoundly, in ways often unforeseen. And yet never before has a book examined how and why the stages of our children's development affect us so deeply, altering not only our jobs, our lifestyles, and our relationships with our spouses and parents, but the very essence of how we think of ourselves as individuals and adults.

For the first time, parenting experts Barbara Unell and Jerry Wyckoff offer a new vision of the family journey -- what it means for us as parents and individuals as we evolve in tandem with every new change brought about by our children's growth. Like Passages, Gail Sheehy's groundbreaking study of the stages of adult maturity, this book defines for readers the eight clear stages of an adult parent's life, illuminating the defining moments, key conflicts, important lessons and signposts of each stage of his or her evolution, from early parenthood to old age.

The eight seasons of parenthood are:
Celebrity: The self-absorption of impending parenthood
Sponge: Surrendering your former identity to the essentials of caring for a baby
Family Manager: Organizing and juggling the business of life with toddlers and preschoolers
Travel Agent: Stepping back -- and stepping up your role of activities manager -- as your children go through school
Volcano Dweller: Exercising damage control in your own life with teenagers
Family Remodeler: Reevaluating life as a parent of new adults
Plateau Parent: Reliving childhood through grandchildren
Rebounder: Accepting and embracing the parent/child role reversal
These eight stages are fixed at the birth of every child. Try as we might to fight this law of human nature, we all follow the same predictable, inevitable, universal, and eternal journey of parenthood with each child. Once your baby is born, there's no turning back.

Based on interviews with hundreds of parents from their twenties to their nineties and Dr. Wyckoff's practice as a family psychologist, The Eight Seasons of Parenthood is a compassionate guide and road map to one of life's most profound and never ending experiences . . . essential reading for any parent who has ever wondered, "What's happening to the me I used to know?"

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Review:

Be it spring, summer, fall, or winter, the start of a new season marks a time of change and growth. In 8 Seasons of Parenthood, co-authors Barbara C. Unell, founder of Twins magazine, and family psychologist Jerry Wyckoff, M.D., explore the very predictable cycles of parenthood, showing how each waxing and waning season shapes individuals and families. Beginning with pregnancy (a time when moms-to-be are the "celebrities" and their husbands are the "roadies"), the authors use familiar examples to describe the physical and psychological changes adults encounter throughout parenthood--be it the new mom who laments her lost waistline and freedom; the father of a teen who suddenly needs to revisit his bygone youth; or the lonely couple who can't face eating at the family dinner table once their children are off to college.

Wykoff and Unell succeed in providing a thorough guide for parents in any stage of the child-rearing game, taking care to share a diversity of circumstances from various socioeconomic sectors as well as the experiences of special-needs families in which a child's developmental disabilities prevent parents from reaching the final seasons. A final, thought-provoking chapter is dedicated to parents who find themselves in need of being "parented" by their own children. --Liane Thomas

About the Author:

Barbara C. Unell and Jerry Wyckoff, Ph.d., are the authors of the bestselling Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking, 20 Teachable Virtues, and How to Discipline Your 6-to-12-Year-Old Without Losing Your Mind. Unell, a parent educator, journalist, and former columnist for The Kansas City Star, is a founder of Twins Magazine and the school-based character-education program, "Kindness Is Contagious . . . Catch It." She and her husband, Robert, are Family Remodelers.

Dr. Wyckoff is a family psychologist who, along with his wife, Millie, is a Plateau Parent.

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Barbara C. Unell, Jerry Wyckoff
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