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Andrew Solomon On Raising Children With Differences

Pete Springer/OPB

Andrew Solomon is interested in what happens when children turn out very different from their parents. Solomon draws from his own experience growing up gay, and his mother’s feelings about his sexuality:

“My mother didn’t want me to be gay because she thought it wouldn’t be the happiest course for me, but equally, she didn’t like the image of herself as the mother of a gay son. The problem wasn’t that she wanted to control my life … The problem was that she wanted to control her life, and it was her life as the mother of a homosexual that she wished to alter.”

Far from the Tree arises from ten years of research that Solomon conducted with families dealing with children that are deaf, transgender, schizophrenic, or prodigies. He examines what effect the exceptional children have on their families, and how parents cope with the realization that their children will live very different lives from them.

Do you have a family where the apple fell far from the tree? How do you deal with the differences between you and your children? Or your parents?

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