This episode is for everyone whose now-estranged adult child used to be their best friend. Many moms and dads whose children appeared to enjoy their friendship for years, now find themselves rejected by those very children.
What happened to that delightful bond? Those long talks about anything and everything? The sharing, the connection, the enjoyment of each other… Where did it go?
Friendships that begin when children are young sometimes don’t survive when the child grows up. She finds friends her own age and gets busy with her life, leaving the parent behind.
When the friendship ends and estrangement sets in, it’s a double-whammy. The parent feels as though he’s lost both a child and a friend. Especially if the parent and child went through a divorce together, the parent may feel more alone than ever now.
At this point, the parent has two options: Keep trying to re-establish that friendship, or step out of the role of (replaceable) friend, and into the role of “Parent with a capital P.” Tina argues that Parents are more valuable than friends.
Companionship and closeness shouldn’t be lost to those whose children grow up and away. It’s necessary to have or create connections with peers that feel supportive and fun. Not as a consolation prize, but as a healthy alternative to relying on a child who’s pulling away.
To learn about how to transition out of the “friend” role and into that of the capital-P Parent, order Tina’s book, Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child: Practical Tips and Tools to Heal Your Relationship. Available April 28, 2020.
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