Judith Smith

Judith R. Smith, Ph.D., LCSW, is a psychotherapist, professor, and researcher on women’s issues as they age.  She is a professor at Fordham University in New York City.
Throughout her career, Dr. Smith has focused on understanding how mothers are affected by their children’s development. Her previous work focused on young children and how the child's early development impacted the mother's sense of self, as well as the ways mothers’ responses and resources impacted her child’s later development. Today, as a senior researcher, her interest is on older mothers and how women are affected by and cope when their adult children are struggling with issues that interfere with their autonomy and self-sufficiency.
Her book, Difficult: Mothering Challenging Adult Children through Conflict and Change, is based on a three-year research project. The book brings to life the stories of thirty-five women, each over sixty years old, whose lives were drastically altered by becoming the default safety net for their adult “kids.”  The adult children were between twenty-eight and fifty-eight. Dr. Smith discovered that mothers perceived their adult children’s behavior as “difficult” when they found themselves, once again, prioritizing their children’s needs over their own and saw no “exit” for themselves or their adult children from their problems.

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Books by Judith Smith