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Reviewed by Donna Gielow McFarland for Readers' Favorite
There are library stacks full of books written to help parents with the challenge of raising troubled children. Emotional Recovery from your Troubled Child by Richard Schwindt is a little different. The focus of this book is not on the child, but on the parents and things the parents can do to take care of their own emotional health. Schwindt’s suggestions range from things everybody knows (eat healthily, exercise, get enough sleep, stay hydrated) to things that not everybody knows, like how to retrain thinking by using cognitive behavioral therapy. There are chapters relating to different stages in the child’s life, advice on keeping other relationships healthy, communication (the explanation of adult statements vs. parent statements vs. critical parent statements is very well done), medication and advocating for the child. The strongest theme is the importance of the parent continuing to live their own life to the fullest – the need to put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting your child – but there is no condemnation or guilt trip here.
Richard Schwindt is a social worker who has obviously had a lot of experience helping families with troubled children. The phrase “troubled children” encompasses not only children who have gotten in trouble with the law or substance abuse, but also children with mental problems, autism, or a variety of other issues. Each chapter contains quotes or vignettes describing various challenging situations. Schwindt is very aware of and sensitive to the range of emotions parents experience when their children struggle, sometimes in crisis for very long periods of time. Since parents’ range of experiences is so wide, most parents will not find everything in the book to be relevant, but I expect anyone in this type of situation will find a good portion of the book to be helpful. Emotional Recovery from your Troubled Child does not provide easy answers because there are none. It does, however, offer a supportive voice of encouragement and reassurance that the reader is not alone.