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The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did), Review

Book Author: Philippa Perry

Lofi art. boy and his father sittign at dining room table. sunset though window in the background.

5 Reasons you should read this book today

  1. Gain valuable insights into your own upbringing: "The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read" offers readers an opportunity to reflect on their own childhood experiences and understand how they shape their adult lives. By examining the impact of our upbringing, we can develop greater self-awareness and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.

  2. Improve communication within your family: One of the key focuses of the book is on enhancing communication within family relationships. Philippa Perry provides practical advice and strategies to help readers effectively express their thoughts and emotions, fostering healthier and more meaningful connections with both parents and children.

  3. Build stronger and more fulfilling relationships: By delving into the dynamics of parent-child relationships, Perry offers guidance on building stronger bonds based on empathy, understanding, and emotional support. Through her insights and exercises, readers can learn to develop more fulfilling connections with their loved ones, leading to greater harmony and satisfaction within the family unit.

  4. Break harmful patterns and create positive change: The book explores how our own upbringing can influence our parenting styles and behaviors. By understanding and recognizing negative patterns, readers can break free from unhealthy cycles and create positive change for themselves and future generations. Perry empowers readers to challenge outdated beliefs and adopt healthier approaches to parenting.

  5. Promote emotional well-being for both parents and children: Perry emphasizes the importance of emotional well-being within families. By providing guidance on emotional understanding and regulation, she equips readers with tools to navigate challenging situations and promote mental and emotional health for both parents and children. The book encourages readers to create an environment that fosters emotional growth and resilience for all family members.

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Analysis of: The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)

"The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)" is an insightful and thought-provoking parenting book by renowned British psychotherapist, Philippa Perry. Perry provides an enlightening exploration of the intricacies of parent-child relationships, advocating for empathetic communication and emotional connection as a cornerstone to effective parenting.

The book is underpinned by Perry's core belief that raising happy, healthy, and well-adjusted children is not about enforcing strict rules and punishments. Instead, it's about fostering a strong, meaningful relationship based on mutual respect, understanding, and emotional responsiveness. Perry challenges conventional wisdom on parenting, inviting readers to reflect on their behaviors, responses, and emotional patterns, and their impacts on the dynamics of the parent-child relationship.

Perry begins by discussing the importance of understanding our own upbringing and the lasting impacts it can have on us as parents. She notes that our own parents' behaviors can unconsciously influence how we parent our children. By acknowledging these inherited patterns, we can prevent passing on any potentially harmful habits and instead consciously choose more helpful, positive behaviors.

A central theme throughout the book is the concept of emotional responsiveness. Perry emphasizes that parents should strive to validate their children's feelings rather than dismissing or trivializing them. By doing so, children will feel heard and understood, fostering their emotional intelligence and building their resilience.

Additionally, Perry highlights the significance of quality communication. This goes beyond simply talking and listening; it involves being fully present and engaged in interactions with our children, showing genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings, and modeling respectful, empathetic dialogue.

The book also addresses common parenting challenges like tantrums, sibling rivalry, and teenage rebellion. Perry proposes practical solutions to these issues that prioritize connection and empathy. Instead of viewing these challenges as problems that need to be fixed, Perry suggests seeing them as opportunities to strengthen the relationship and facilitate personal growth for both parent and child.

Perry concludes the book by reminding parents that being good enough is more important than striving for impossible perfection. She encourages parents to learn from mistakes, forgive themselves, and understand that it's never too late to repair a strained parent-child relationship.

"The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)" is not a rulebook or a step-by-step guide, but a compassionate invitation to reflect, understand, and improve. It offers an enlightening perspective on parenting that encourages mutual growth, deep emotional connection, and sustained relational harmony. In her warm and professional style, Philippa Perry guides readers to foster healthier and more fulfilling relationships with their children, leaving a positive impact that can span generations.


"The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)" by Philippa Perry has been lauded by critics and readers alike. The praise for this book is widespread, from renowned publications to notable individuals within the fields of psychotherapy and parenting.

1. The Guardian: In a review by Stuart Heritage, Perry's book is described as 'a directory of empathy' and 'a game-changer.' The reviewer appreciates Perry's approach, stating, "There is no problem for which Perry doesn’t have a relating technique... Her voice is gentle and accessible, and she is never less than completely engaged with her subject matter."

2. The Sunday Times: A review in The Sunday Times calls it a "new and compassionate guide to family life." The book is lauded for its empathetic and insightful look into parenthood and relationships, with the reviewer noting Perry's ability to provide practical and actionable advice.

3. The Times: A review by Leaf Arbuthnot praises the book for its impactful insights into parenthood. The reviewer noted: "The most beautiful thing about Perry’s book is her contention that it is not the behaviour of our children that needs modifying, but our own."

4. New Statesman: Hannah Jane Parkinson writes in her review, "Philippa Perry’s sane, sage and sagacious book should be required reading for every parent, prospective or current." She praises Perry's tone, approach, and the gentle wisdom with which she guides parents through common challenges.

5. Celebrities and notable individuals also praised the book:

- Fearne Cotton, a television presenter, expressed her admiration for Perry's work: "Made me rethink my relationship with my own parents whilst affirming my thoughts about raising my own kids. Truly life-changing."

- Author and psychotherapist, Susie Orbach, stated, "This is a beautiful book of wisdom and tenderness that any parent will benefit from."

6. Goodreads: On this reader review platform, the book has an average rating of 4.16 out of 5, based on over 3,000 ratings as of my knowledge cut-off in September 2021. Readers commend Perry's empathetic and compassionate approach to addressing the parent-child relationship.

Please note that reviews and ratings might have changed after the cut-off of my training data in September 2021. For the most current and accurate reviews and ratings, please visit the sources directly.


While Philippa Perry's "The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)" has been generally well-received, it has not been exempt from criticism. It's important to note that any piece of work will naturally attract varying viewpoints, and criticism often helps to paint a comprehensive picture of a book.

A consistent critique is that Perry's advice sometimes appears to be too generalized and may overlook the intricacies of diverse family structures and personal circumstances. Critics argue that while the book is designed to be universally applicable, some scenarios demand a more nuanced approach that acknowledges the vast complexities of real-world parenting.

Some critics also assert that Perry's emphasis on understanding one's own upbringing, while valuable, might detract from more present and future-oriented parenting strategies. There's an implication that the book leans too heavily into retrospective analysis rather than providing an equal measure of practical, forward-looking advice.

Another critique leveled at the book is the lack of specific, actionable guidance. While the book's central themes of empathy and emotional responsiveness have been praised, some readers felt there wasn't enough tangible advice on how to implement these principles in day-to-day parenting.

Finally, some critics mention that Perry's tone, while warm and supportive, may occasionally border on idealistic, potentially creating unrealistic expectations for some parents. The notion of perfect parenting is a myth, and while Perry acknowledges this, critics argue that the book might inadvertently pressure parents to achieve an unattainable level of emotional attunement with their children.

Despite these criticisms, it's important to underscore that "The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)" has largely been received positively and is praised for its empathetic and compassionate approach to the intricacies of parent-child relationships.

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Fan FaQs

Philippa Perry is a highly esteemed British psychotherapist, author, and broadcaster known for her warm and empathetic approach to mental health, relationships, and parenting. Born on September 29, 1957, in Warrington, England, Perry's professional life and personal journey have been marked by a deep-seated commitment to understanding the human mind and nurturing healthy interpersonal relationships.

Perry studied Social Sciences at the University of West England, and subsequently Fine Art at Middlesex University. Her fascination with psychology eventually led her to train as a psychotherapist at the prestigious institution, the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education, where she went on to achieve a Master's degree. This diverse academic background has given Perry a unique and well-rounded perspective on human behavior, communication, and emotional wellbeing.

Perry began her career as a psychotherapist, amassing decades of experience and insights into the human psyche. Her warm, empathetic approach to therapy has not only made her a sought-after practitioner but also a respected voice in the realm of mental health. Perry's therapeutic approach is integrative, blending elements of psychodynamic therapy, humanistic psychology, and the arts.

Perry is equally renowned for her written work. Her book, "The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)," published in 2019, brought her international acclaim. This empathetic and insightful exploration of parent-child relationships quickly became a Sunday Times Bestseller, lauded by critics and readers alike for its warm, accessible tone and wise guidance on fostering healthier, more fulfilling relationships with children.

In addition to her books, Perry has written for various esteemed publications, including The Guardian, and Psychotherapy Networker, sharing her insights on mental health and relationships.

Perry's passion for mental health also extends to the screen. She has contributed to numerous radio and television programs, offering expert commentary on mental health issues. In 2019, she co-presented "Britain's Most Historic Towns" on Channel 4 alongside her husband, the renowned British art critic and broadcaster, Grayson Perry.

Philippa Perry's work consistently reflects her deep understanding of the human mind, her capacity for empathy, and her desire to help people form healthier, more fulfilling relationships. Her contributions to psychotherapy and her insightful, compassionate voice in the public sphere make her a highly respected figure in the field of mental health.

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Other Works

  1. "The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did)" (2019): In this insightful and compassionate book, Philippa Perry offers practical advice on how to build stronger and healthier relationships with our parents and children. She explores the impact of our upbringing on our adult lives and provides guidance on effective communication and emotional understanding within families.

  2. "How to Stay Sane" (2012): In this concise and thought-provoking book, Philippa Perry delves into the challenges of modern life and offers practical strategies for maintaining mental well-being. From managing stress and anxiety to cultivating self-awareness and resilience, she provides valuable insights to help readers navigate the complexities of daily life.

  3. "Couch Fiction: A Graphic Tale of Psychotherapy" (2010): Co-authored with illustrator Junko Graat, this unique book takes readers on a visual journey through a series of psychotherapy sessions. Through a combination of words and illustrations, Philippa Perry offers an engaging exploration of the therapeutic process, demystifying the world of psychotherapy while shedding light on the complexities of the human mind.

  4. "The Book of You: Daily Micro-Actions for a Happier, Healthier Life" (2020): In this interactive journal, Philippa Perry encourages readers to engage in small, daily actions that can lead to positive changes in their lives. Each page offers a prompt or exercise designed to promote self-reflection, personal growth, and well-being, empowering readers to make incremental improvements and cultivate a happier, healthier mindset.

  5. "The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves" (2018): Drawing on her experiences as a psychotherapist, Philippa Perry explores the intricacies of human nature and the ways in which we navigate our lives. Through a collection of insightful case studies, she examines themes such as love, loss, identity, and personal growth, offering profound reflections on what it means to be human.

  6. "How to Be a Parent: The Shortest Book Ever on Parenting" (2021): In this concise and accessible guide, Philippa Perry distills her wealth of knowledge on parenting into a brief yet impactful book. She addresses common challenges faced by parents and provides practical tips and advice on raising children with empathy, understanding, and effective communication.

  7. "Fever Pitch: Parenting and Relationships in the Digital Age" (2022): Exploring the impact of technology on parenting and relationships, Philippa Perry delves into the challenges posed by the digital age. She offers insights into navigating screen time, online interactions, and the ever-evolving landscape of social media, providing guidance on maintaining healthy boundaries and nurturing meaningful connections.


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