Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading Parent yourself again by Yong Kang Chan. It’s a non-fiction book that is based on the idea of using mindfulness and self compassion to understand your inner child and inner parent to not only come to a better understanding and relationship with your own parents, but to also parent yourself in the way you’ve always wanted to be.
The full title is, Parent yourself again: Love Yourself the Way You Have Always Wanted to Be Loved. The author’s had a really interesting life, he’s a blogger and private tutor who’s had a verity of jobs like being an accountant all the way to being an animator. Parenting yourself again isn’t his first book, some of his other work includes Empty your cup and The disbelief habit.
If you like shorter reviews do a quick summary up here, and then blows can be a more in depth review of the things I found just weren’t for me, and some of the issues with the writing I did pick up on.
It’s a well-intentioned book that was marketed to broadly and at the incorrect people. If you want to read a book that draws on an authors own experiences about having different opinions of their parents and regular locking horns with them, this is a good book for you I’d recommend it. However, if you are picking up this book with the expectation that it will teach you some things about longer issues that affected people through childhood, like trauma and abuse, the book doesn’t deliver on it.
I don’t feel the main idea of the book is explained very well, there’s a lot of filling in and not 100% relevant information in the book. However, it does share some good advice and you can take a lot of encouragement and empowerment from this book. It won’t treat you like a child or a victim, it’s going to try and explain to you that you’re an adult who cannot change other people, you can only change how you approach and accept people.
I would give this book 3/5 stars.
In general I have some quite mixed feelings about this book. I can see where it was coming from, I think it may have missed the mark a little bit in what it hopes to achieve. There are a number of positives and negatives with this book, what I will discuss, but I’m very tempted to say that this book just wasn’t for me. I think my expectations the book didn’t match what I was actually reading. The information wasn’t what I was expecting nor was the approach.
There were little nuggets of gold and good advice throughout the entire book. Sure, the pacing was weird and not everything felt relevant, but I can honestly say I’ve never highlighted and underlined so much stuff in a book before. When the book was good, it was a really good. I think that’s the redeeming quality of this book, should look at and deliver on what it may be intended to but there was snippets of good advice in the period.
The layout pleasant to read. It’s separated into three parts, understanding the parent-child relationship, growing your inner parent and healing the inner child. The book followed a really nice flow and journey that the reader need it to go on, it doesn’t start with explaining how to accept your parents it starts by trying to get you to understand your inner parent and inner child (the core concept of the whole book). It makes sure that the reader has a understanding of all of the variations in aspects and complications of a child parent relationship. You could really tell that the author had spent time understanding the dynamics of the relationship.
This being said, I don’t think it was grounded enough about the core concepts to be used as an effective tool. It does introduce you to some key concepts that were very good and would be very widely beneficial if they’ve been built upon further.
The core concepts of the inner child and parent weren’t explained all that well. These two things are the backbone of the whole book, this is what everything is built around and not enough time was spent explaining them. It got to the point where things just weren’t making any sense, did the author want us as the reader to view the inner child and parent as “personalities”that exists within us up, or did they intend them to be more metaphorical?
At points it was harsh on people who came from a more difficult background, and more challenging parents and childhoods. I wish the topic of child abuse was handled with more acknowledgements to the severity of the issue, I wish it respected the severity little bit more and didn’t lump it in with parent who might disagree with their child or be cold and pushy. I will applaud the authors recognising the healing process and some will be professional help, he did recognise this. However, this was only acknowledged once in what felt like a throwaway comment. So whilst he did acknowledge it do wish he would have spent a little bit longer encouraging people to also seek professional aid and support.
I think my main issue with this book as it may be marketed at the wrong people. I feel the majority of people who are picking up this book would have experienced some sort of long-term, unhealthy relationship issue with their parents. This group of people feel like the target audience. But I don’t feel the author has the authority on the subject matter to be talking about child abuse. I think this book would be fantastic that those who have had a similar upbringing to the author, parents with different ways of showing love, puts a child and high pressure and expectations, as well as being colder and a source of much pressure and stress. As a book people for who may lock horns with their parents every now and then, for the reasons mentioned above, this book would be fantastic and I’d really recommend it if that’d you. However, I just don’t feel the author have the authority to be offering advice of those who survived abuse. If there been some reference to research the author did to understand the topic then I think I’d be less harsh on the author about approaching the topic in general.
The author does however, draw fantastically on their own childhood experiences and their experiences are well written. My only negative with it was it did feel occasionally like these parts were just slotted it, but that was only now and then. Other than that, I found them very insightful and they did help explain and give you real life examples of some of the advice the author was sharing.
I think this book was written with good intentions, but it just missed the mark. The core concepts were poorly explained the pacing wasn’t helpful. This book can be very useful for the right people, but the author has just targeted that you widely and broadly. As a result, I feel many people will be going into this book with expectations of help simply not being delivered on.