4 out of 4 stars
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Are you leading a fulfilling life? Do you feel like you have unfulfilled emotional issues from the past? As parents, is it possible to guide our children to avoid emotional and psychological pitfalls? Sally A. Raymond invites readers to learn about our emotional and psychological development based on Dr. Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Human Development. Her motivation for writing this non-fiction book, The Son I Knew Too Late, was the troubled life of her firstborn, Jon.
According to Erikson, every person passes through the same development stages with a predictable “sequence of emotional challenges.” Our ability to confront and resolve the emotional crisis posed by each stage determines our ability to mature healthily. Any unresolved issues of a previous stage leave us vulnerable to problems in the future.
Jon witnessed domestic abuse when he was only two years old. When he was four, he was sexually molested. When his parents divorced, he believed he was a “too bad boy,” who caused his father to leave. How would these crises affect Jon emotionally and psychologically? How would they affect his future?
I enjoyed the book’s format a great deal. The author opened each chapter with an overview of Jon and what she remembered about him at each stage. She gave honest descriptions of how she and others responded to Jon’s development and crises. After explaining what to expect at each stage of growth, she explained Dr. Erikson's description of the stage. This was followed by practical suggestions of activities and questions to apply either to yourself or your child. The author reflected on how she could have handled Jon’s circumstances. Her honesty about how she believed she had succeeded or failed with her son astounded me. I think her honesty is what makes this book so compelling. She carried each concept from theory to reality by sharing her family history.
Parents begin the process of raising their progeny with high hopes. It doesn’t take long for the question to arise, “What do I do?” Sally Raymond’s book will guide parents through these moments of uncertainty. Adults can also benefit from acquainting themselves with Erikson’s stages for emotional health. “When we use Erikson’s chart to look back on our lives, it gives us the keys to begin to heal our past and reshape our future.” (p. 12)
Sally included a helpful list of organizations to contact should the reader detect disturbing characteristics in a friend or loved one. These professionals specialize in the areas of depression, shoplifting, runaways, suicide, bullying, among others. There is also a list of suggested books for different age groups.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I couldn’t find anything to dislike about this book. The author’s candid interpretation of each stage, the relatable illustrations from her family life, and the relatively few errors I found made this a pleasant and educative read. Parents, educators, and counselors would benefit from this book to help children achieve emotional and psychological success at each stage. Adults, in general, could use knowledge of the eight stages to heal past wounds and live a fulfilling and satisfying life.
The Son I Knew Too Late
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