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All our lives, we seek affirmation and love from the people closest to us -- our parents and, later, our grown children. But too few of us get it. As adults, many of us feel that our aging parents still treat us like kids. As parents, many of us are sad that our adult children seem to have little use for us.
When Robert Kuttner and Sharland Trotter were writing Family Re-Union, many new empty-nesters told them, "I hope I have a better relationship with my kids than I did with my parents." Family Re-Union offers insights on how adults and their parents can cultivate new adult- to-adult lifelong connections and become deeper friends. It is the first book to explore this challenge over the entire life course -- from a teenager's departure for college to the impending death of an aging parent.
Kuttner, a well-known journalist, and Trotter, a clinical psychologist, conceived the book when their son had just gone off to college and their daughter was a junior in high school. The message of Family Re-Union is deepened by the unusual circumstances of its writing: a year into the work, Sharland Trotter learned she had cancer.
As Sharland deals with her illness and invites her family into her journey, the book takes on additional relevance for all those facing their own mortality -- whether prematurely or at the natural end of a long life span -- and seeking to repair family relationships. But Family Re-Union will prove indispensable for all adults, from the twenty-five-year-old who finds her parents overbearing, through the forty-year-old hoping to have a better relationship with his son than he had with his father, to the seventy-year-old trying to reconnect with a middle-aged daughter, and all steps in between. These are life stages we all encounter, and Family Re-Union offers hope that, no matter what our personal circumstances, it is never too late to create loving, respectful family ties.