Parents Under Pressure: Struggling to Raise Children in an Unequal America

By Karen Zilberstein

Levellers Press, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-945473-79-1, 239 pages, $20

Not everything in life goes as planned, and the new book “Parents Under Pressure: Struggling to Raise Children in an Unequal America” is a perfect showcase of that. Author Karen Zilberstein shares the stories of six families and the struggles they experience when their parenting journeys don’t go as planned. Some find themselves facing challenging diagnoses for their newborn children. Others start parenthood while still grappling with their own childhood trauma. Other parents struggle to find a way out of poverty or manage their own mental illness. “Parents Under Pressure” is a close look at the challenges these families face to find help for their children and themselves and how once the deck is stacked against them, the problems can continue to deepen.

Sharing stark statistics in the book: “one in six American children live in poverty, one in six struggle with a developmental disability and one in five will suffer a debilitating mental disorder at some point,” it’s easy to see yourself reflected in the stories shared. As a psychotherapist, Zilberstein has worked with many families who fall into these categories that can challenge even families who are the most supported and connected to resources. In the book she showcases the difficulty families can often face.

When working in the child welfare system, as a foster parent or caseworker, it’s easy to look at the problems birth families face from the outside, but when you look deeper there’s a greater understanding of the complicating layers that led families to the child welfare doorstep. “Parents Under Pressure” really helps to highlight those complications, so the reader can empathize and have a better understanding of the challenges that some families face. The book it definitely eye-opening and the lengthy list of resources at the end is helpful for readers to find help.

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