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Bradshaw On: The Family: A New Way of Creating Solid Self-Esteem Paperback – Apr 1 1990

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 2nd Revised edition edition (April 1 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558744274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558744271
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Bradshaw (Family Secrets, LJ 1/95), a well-known speaker and author on such topics as addiction, recovery, and spirituality, has released a revised version of John Bradshaw: On Family, which first accompanied his 1984 television series. In this edition, he speaks out on the need for democracy within the family, as opposed to a patriarchal model of family relations. Throughout, Bradshaw refers to earlier models of child rearing as "poisonous pedagogy," and he is deeply committed to changing parenting within today's families and helping adults damaged by the parenting they received to rebuild their self-esteem. He uses many of the techniques of Adult Children of Alcoholics and similar groups in helping the reader identify problems and repair damage. Earlier editions of this book have sold more than a million copies, so public libraries will certainly have a demand for this title.
Kay L. Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills., Md.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

John Bradshaw has been at the forefront of the self-development and recovery field for more than ten years. He has helped million of people improve their lives through his ongoing lecture series, his nationally broadcast public television series and his bestselling books.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The central idea of Bradshaw's book is an interesting one: that in recent decades, psychological research has begun to focus on seeing the family as an emotional system, and that one can't just study an individual's psychological difficulties without seeing his or her role in the family & the family's interactions. Families each have their own unique culture which creates an emotional environment that children learn from & absorb. People growing up in healthy families become mature healthy people, who have their own identity & have a healthy separation from their family; they have learned that they are free to feel what they feel and express it even if it goes against the family "script," roles, or views. If there are disagreements, then people fight fairly, with nobody is trying to manipulate each other or use each other to satisfy unmet emotional needs.
Bradshaw then looks at the dynamics in dysfunctional families. He examines, in turn, families with alcoholics, families who are physically or emotionally abusive, and those that are co-dependent. These families may have problems with enmeshment, guilt, control, shame, family secrets, continuous fighting or no fighting because "wrong" emotions are forbidden. He highlights the fact that dysfunctional families often have dysfunctional kids, who then seek out, find, and marry other dysfunctional people (since they act in a familiar, though dysfunctional, way). In this way, certain family problems such as alcoholism, violence, and so on can be handed down across generations. Because of this, one should examine one's problems in the context of one's family, and always look for the "problem behind the problem" (i.e. ask what drives one to drink? Rather than just address alcoholism as an addiction).
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Format: Paperback
A friend gave me this book because she was offended that someone else had given it to her. I read it because I've always wondered about the ideas behind the terms "dysfunctional family", "inner child", and "co-dependent".
Unfortunately, the book didn't help me much with those terms. The author says it's based on a PBS series that he did. Unfortunately, it comes across as if he improvised it. The definitions are imprecise, and for some concepts, it's hard to figure out which sentences ARE the definitions. That makes the conclusions hard to follow.
Bradshaw seems to sell a lot of books, so presumably he's touching something in a lot of people. And what he's trying to do is very important. I hope lots of people become better and happier as a result.
But between inventing his own slightly-too-cute terms (e.g., "dis-ease", "patriarchal pedagogy", "deep democracy") and presenting things in clever-but-not-useful formats (he summarizes each chapter by a series of notes, each of which begins with the letters that make up a key phrase, e.g., S.T.A.G.E. I. R.E.C.O.V.E.R.Y.), he does almost nothing useful for someone who's trying to get an intellectual handle on his field.
If I wanted to know more about this field, I'd probably ask "cycworker"!
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Format: Paperback
In this book, which is based on a TV series for PBS, brought Bradshaw into the public eye. The book essentially describes the impact of growing up in a dysfunctional family. It is an attempt to explain family systems theory in layman's terms. He links our cultural values about children and parenting to the issues of shame, child abuse, eating disorders, and alcoholism.
The book has some clear strengths. Bradshaw succeeds in giving a relatively accurate (if somewhat simplistic) description of family systems theory. If you want to understand your own experiences in growing up in a troubled home, this book might help. If you are a student, however, and are trying to learn about family systems theory, this book could confuse you. Bradshaw tries to blend together the work of a variety of theorists, and in doing so he loses the meaning of the individual's work. His own theories are merely a reworking of other great theorists. The biggest problem with that is that he links people together that would actively disagree with one another if they were on a stage together. And some of them would really disagree with the way Bradshaw has reinterpreted their work. Satir is not interchangeable with Bowen. The average reader will not notice this, however, nor do they necessarily need to.
Bradshaw also talks alot about 12 step programs, and seems to believe that everyone can and will benefit in participating in such a group. He completely dismisses or ignores the writers who would argue that 12 step programs are ineffective for many. He draws on his own experiences, which is fine, but he generalizes these experiences to such an extent that he seems to believe that everyone must be just like him.
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By Peggy on Oct. 22 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a book that will change your life, if you work it, are open to it, and are ready to "look" at yourself. I have read many of Bradshaw's as well as others, and the first time I picked this up, I thought, "yeah, I know what he's going to say". But when my therapist suggested I re-read it, because I was already journaling, doing dream interpretations, etc... it held a new facsination for me. I could relate in a way I never did the first time. Everything in time, I guess. Give it a try, if you already know that life isn't perfect, parent's aren't perfect, and you can give yourself a big break, and start living the life you deserve! Happy searching!
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