Other Press – 2020

Part memoir and part guide, this book offers both insight and remedy to those parents who are unknowingly under the influence of their own childhood experiences, and unwittingly repeat their parents’ mistakes while believing they are doing the right thing.

How should we raise our children? It is an intimidating and complex question, and we often address it by deciding to do either exactly what our parents did or just the opposite.

After that we rely on a cock- tail of love and instinct, hoping it will be enough to overcome the difficulties ahead.

Far from having perfect free will, however, we are all under the influence. The child still within us confuses, influences, or undermines all our aspirations as parents and prevents us from sticking to the philosophy we initially hoped to follow. These unresolved emotions drive us to reproduce the upbringing we received, including the patterns or behaviors that have hurt us the most.

In Parents Under the Influence, Cécile David-Weill draws on her own parenting blunders and successes as well as case studies and works of fiction to guide readers, helping us heal from the past and become effective, nurturing parents.

“Parents Under The Influence is a book I wish I’d had when I began raising my children:an empirical guide to parenting, supplementing my own experiences with concrete examples drawn from friends and acquaintances, as well as from case studies by therapists who trusted me with delicate information, and from works of fiction and pop cultural phenomena relating to the topic of parenthood.

This book is aimed at all parents who find themselves under the influence—as I myself was, and sometimes still am. Indeed, I believe we are all under the influence when we don’t acknowledge the impact our childhood has on our parenting style, and when we haven’t developed the habit of questioning ourselves and setting constructive priorities for our children. My hope is that this book will help parents reflect upon their own unconscious assumptions and enable them to do the right thing for their children. After all, our parenting sets a template that, for better or for worse, stays with them for the rest of their lives.”

Cécile David-Weill

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