Poisonous Parenting: Toxic Relationships Between Parents and Their Adult Children, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Poisonous Parenting

Toxic Relationships Between Parents and Their Adult Children, 1st Edition

Edited by Shea M. Dunham, Shannon B. Dermer, Jon Carlson


252 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415879088
pub: 2011-06-13
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pub: 2012-01-26
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How does the toxicity associated with particular parenting styles affect attachment? How do the contaminated views of themselves that children of poisonous parents have affect their relationships into adulthood? Like physicians, clinicians do not want to amputate, but they sometimes find it necessary in order to preserve the health of the larger system. Poisonous Parenting shows clinicians how to recognize the effects of poisonous parenting in adult children and how to heal the scars created by parents' toxic attitudes and behaviors. Readers will come away from the book understanding ways to counteract the effects of poisonous parenting so that clients can recover and lead a healthy life. They'll also learn techniques for determining when a relationship can be salvaged, when to proceed with caution, and when to disconnect in order to keep the poison from spreading.


"What happens to those disturbed parent/child relationships once everybody's an adult? And what can be done about them? Find out here! An enlightening look at a long- neglected topic." - Thomas W. Phelan, PhD, author of 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2–12

"Although the relationship between childhood and adulthood has been explored for decades, this book, with its diverse authors and perspectives, deepens and enriches that scholarship and research. The authors not only show the deleterious interpersonal effects of ‘poisonous parenting’ on children and their future adult relationships, they extend their analysis beyond the interpersonal to the cultural, giving a balanced analysis to this critical discussion. The book will be an invaluable resource for the practicing clinician and an excellent biblio-therapeutic resource for clients. I loved it and highly recommend it." - Harville Hendrix, PhD, coauthor with Helen LaKelly Hunt of Giving the Love That Heals: A Guide for Parents

"A clinically engaging and useful book on understanding, identifying and dealing with the effects of difficult and negative parenting. Clinicians will appreciate the conceptual and practical suggestions for helping their clients with these issues." - James H. Bray, PhD, coauthor of Stepfamilies: Love, Marriage, and Parenting in the First Decade and past president of the American Psychological Association

"Poisonous Parenting…is a much-needed effort to extend the scholarship in this very important area of human development and therapeutic work. We believe this book is a great first step and we hope it will inspire future research and writing on this topic." - J. Douglas Pettinelli, Katie M. Heiden Rootes and Christine Schneider in PsychCRITIQUES

Table of Contents

Dermer, Dunham, Introduction. Dermer, Dunham, Poisonous Parenting. Robey, Sori, Compassionate Parenting: The Antidote to Poisonous Parenting. Farber, Siegel, Parental Presence: An Interpersonal Neurobiology Approach to Healthy Relationships Between Adults and Their Parents. Goldstein, Thau, A Brain-based Understanding From the Cradle to the Grave. Dunham, Woolley, Creating Secure Attachment: A Model for Creating Healthy Relationships. Sperry, Couple Relationships. Horn Mallers, Englar-Carlson, Carlson, Father-son Relationships. Jordan, Disconnection and Parenting: A Relational Cultural Perspective. Durham, Addressing Poisonous Parenting within the African American Community: A Systems Approach. Olund, Honor Thy Parents? A Religious Perspective on Poisonous Parenting. Hargrave, Saving Oneself: Forgiving the Poisonous Parent as an Act of Kindness to Oneself and Future Generations. Dermer, Dunham, Helping Clients Become Compassionate Parents, Partners, and Friends.

About the Series

Routledge Series on Family Therapy and Counseling

The Family Therapy and Counseling Series is devoted to providing practitioners and students with current information on specific topics relevant to marriage and family therapy, counseling, couples therapy, and child and adolescent therapy.

Forthcoming volumes in the series will explore immigrant families, aging, couples therapy, and parenting.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family