audiobook (Unabridged) ∣ Mothering Challenging Adult Children through Conflict and Change
By Judith R. Smith
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Told from the perspective of mothers who've lived it, Difficult focuses on mothering challenging adult children. Difficult brings to life the conflicts that arise for mothers who are confronted with the unexpected and burdensome dependencies of their adult children associated with mental illness, substance use, or chronic unemployment. Through real stories of mothers and their challenging adult children, this book offers accessible, provocative, and, at times, shocking illustrations of the excruciating maternal dilemma: Which takes precedence-the needs of the mother or of the distressed adult child? Difficult addresses a family situation which too many keep secret. The book allows listeners to see that they are not alone. Judith Smith speaks empathically to parents, acknowledging and illuminating the embarrassment, shame, and helplessness that women can feel when their adult children's problems puncture their own feelings of self-worth. In the absence of sufficient supports and affordable housing for persons with mental illness or substance misuse disorder, mothers feel that they have no choice-"if not me, then who?" Unpaid and unrecognized maternal caregiving work continues to limit women's quality of life, even into their later years. Smith addresses this as a societal issue which requires structural solutions.