Not What I Expected: Help and Hope for Parents of Atypical Children
ISBN 10: 0399171762
ISBN 13: 978-0399171765
Finalist for a Books for a Better Life Award
A pediatric neuropsychologist presents strategies to help parents of special-needs children navigate the emotional challenges they face.
As diagnosis rates continue to rise for autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and other developmental differences, parents face a maze of medical, psychological, and educational choices – and a great deal of emotional stress. Many books address children’s learning or behavior problems and advise parents what they can do to help their kids, but until Not What I Expected: Help and Hope for Parents of Atypical Children there were no books that explain what the parents are going through - and how they can cope with their own emotional upheaval – for their own sake, and for the wellbeing of the whole family.
With compassion, clarity, and an emphasis on practical solutions, Dr. Rita Eichenstein's Not What I Expected: Help and Hope for Parents of Atypical Children walks readers through the five stages of acceptance (similar to the stages of grief, but modified for parents of special-needs kids). Using vivid anecdotes and suggestions, she helps readers understand their own emotional experience, nurture themselves in addition to their kids, identify and address relationship wounds including tension in a marriage and struggles with children (special-needs and neurotypical), and embrace their child with acceptance, compassion and joy.
"Though parenting any child can be demanding, pediatric neuropsychologist Eichenstein understands that particular challenges face the parents of “atypical” children, identified in this helpful manual as those who have “developmental, psychological, or learning disorders” or exhibit problematic behavior. She explains the neurobiology behind the feelings commonly experienced by such parents, including loss, denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, illustrated with relatable stories of the families with whom she’s worked. Eichenstein strongly counsels readers to trust the experts when it comes to diagnoses, remediation, and treatment. For her part, she offers therapeutic tools derived from cognitive psychology and her own long practice. She also addresses a range of pediatric disorders, including ADHD, autism, intellectual disability, and OCD. Her tone throughout maintains the “patient, positive, and optimistic outlook” that she wants to help parents cultivate. Indeed, any parent might benefit from the techniques outlined here. Sage and consistently reassuring, Eichenstein’s manual is a self-help book of the best kind, a road map for an emotionally fraught journey that illustrates how parenting itself can become an avenue for personal growth."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A superb book. Chock full of arresting insights as well as warmth and wisdom."
—Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness
“Full of relatable stories and accessible grounding science, Not What I Expected offers parents validation, empathy, and practical tools. A deeply personal read, readers may feel as if they're sitting with Dr. Eichenstein, who is all at once understanding them, challenging them, and leading them to acceptance and empowerment in their roles as parents.”
—Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, co-author of the NY Times bestselling books The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline
“At last, a book that speaks directly to parents of children who are atypical, as well as to their teachers. Easily digestible and offering insight, support, warmth, and a touch of humor, Not What I Expected will enhance your parenting toolbox and enrich your parenting life.”
--Betsy Brown Braun, MA, Child Development and Behavior Specialist, and bestselling author of Just Tell Me What to Say and You’re Not the Boss of Me
“A gem of a book. Dr. Rita Eichenstein has written with remarkable insight and compassion about the rarely focused on problems of the parents and family members of learning disabled or atypical children. A must-read for practitioners as well as parents.”
—Marion Solomon, Ph.D., author of Lean On Me and The Wonder Of We In A Culture Of Me
“With an enormous amount of experience, and mastery of the atypical brain, Dr. Eichenstein provides a road map for understanding and thriving alongside your atypical child. Not What I Expected is a must-have for any parent who has an atypical child and/or a professional who works with special needs families.”
—Dr. Charles Sophy, Psychiatrist and Medical Director for the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services
“Clear, practical and filled with hope, the ideas and practices in this book offer a science-based common sense approach that any parent or practitioner working with an atypical child will be benefit from. What better gift can we give these children!"
—Elisha Goldstein, PhD, author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
“Where other resources are content to focus on a child's condition, Not What I Expected takes the critical next step in guiding parents through these difficult times. And it does this brilliantly, combining clinical rigor with a deep empathy for every member of the family and each one's special challenges. The result is a book that is an indispensable partner for parenting the atypical child and helping families live full, loving lives together.”
—Michelle Miller, M.D., Pediatric Cardiologist, Associate Professor of Medicine, Florida State University School of Medicine
“An excellent guide that off ers a well-rounded approach and hold s a treasury of great information.”
—Lance Steinberg, MD, assistant clinical professor of UCLA (Geff en) NPI and pediatric/adolescent psychopharmacologist
“This is a wonderful, well-written book that helps parents of atypical children deal with the wide range of emotions such a parenting journey brings. Ultimately, the book guides parents toward greater self-awareness, mindfulness, and compassion for self and their unique child.”
—Lidia Zylowska, MD, psychiatrist, cofounder of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, and author of Th e Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD
“This is the go-to book for all who are raising atypical children. The genius of the book lies in its relatable vignettes struck through with unique insight and incomparable warmth. Dr. Eichenstein’s experience-based understanding and empathic lens off er all of us parents hope!”
—Jan Goldstein, bestselling author and award-winning educator
“I urge any parent who is struggling with an atypical child to pick up Not What I Expected. You’ll be fortified to savor the rewards, and sustained to withstand the challenges, in dealing with your surprising,unexpected child.”
--Zoë Kessler, B.A., B.Ed., author of ADHD According to Zoë: The Real Deal on Relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys
“There's a lot of useful information here and a clear intention to acknowledge parents' struggles… compassionate advice for parents of atypical children.”
– Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Rita Eichenstein, Ph.D., is a noted psychologist and pediatric neuropsychologist. Renowned in the field of child development and author of the popular blog Positively Atypical! by Dr. Rita Eichenstein, her life’s work has been to reach out, support, and counsel atypical children and their parents. She maintains a private practice in Los Angeles, specializing in learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum, twice exceptional students and giftedness, in children, teens, as well as college students and graduate students. Sought out for her clinical expertise, Dr. Eichenstein speaks at schools, educational and business conferences, has been cited in NYMetroParents Prevention.com, Scholastic.com, SheKnows.com, and Time Magazine, and is a frequent guest on national, local, and syndicated radio programs across the country.