Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life

Academic journal article Journal of Marital and Family Therapy

The Mother Dance: How Children Change Your Life

Article excerpt

Harriet Lerner turns her formidable wit and wisdom to yet another dance arena--the one between mothers and their children. In The Mother Dance: How Children Change your Life, Lerner, staff psychologist at the Menninger Clinic and well-known expert on the psychology of women, admits to some trepidation at the prospect of contributing yet another book on mothers. However, readers will be happy she forged ahead and crafted a unique perspective on the experience of becoming and being a mother and the multiple ways in which life and relationships are altered and transformed in the process. Ever vigilant in her truth-telling quest and dedicated to helping free women from burdens of perfectionism, nonproductive guilt, anxiety and self blame, she offers up the best and worst of mothering experiences--including and most especially her own.

The book is organized into segments that roughly correspond to key developmental milestones of parenthood. Part I ("Initiation") reflects on the transition to motherhood and the early years. Part II ("Trial by fire") deals with the middle years and the ways in which issues like communication and power struggles shift focus with increasing maturation. In Part III, ("Bigger kids, bigger challenges") she takes on sexuality, gender differences, and the evolution of sibling rivalry. In Part IV, ("What your mother never told you") she brings a fresh perspective to maternal ambivalence, step-mothering, fathers and their role in the larger family dance, and offers suggestions for those with empty nests. …

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