When Your Child Isn’t the Child You Expected

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Writer and psychologist Andrew Solomon says it's a journey for parents who grow to love and accept children who turn out differently than they had hoped.

Becoming a parent can be exhilarating. But sometimes children turn out differently than parents had hoped or expected. Maybe a child is deaf or has autism, or a child is gay or exceptionally gifted, or that child grows up and commits a crime. Writer and psychologist Andrew Solomon is the author of the best-selling book “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity.” In the book, he looked at the struggles many parents face, and how they manage to find profound meaning in raising exceptional children.


Solomon also wrote the memoir “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression,” which won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction. He teaches clinical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, and he says there are ways to differentiate depression from sadness.



A question Solomon has explored is why some people are more resilient through depression than others. And he found that those who see value in their struggles fare better. And they often discover they aren’t alone.


Solomon has been named the winner of UAB’s 2018 Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award. He gives a free lecture Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the UAB Hill Student Center Alumni Theatre.


UAB is a sponsor of WBHM programming. WBHM’s news and business departments operate separately.