What’s Your Parenting Style?

Permissive, authoritarian, or authoritative?

Think for a moment about how your parents raised you. Were they permissive, authoritarian, or authoritative? Psychologist Diana Baumrind (1927-2018) observed these 3 different parenting styles and noticed distinct outcomes for children… Permissive parents view their children more or less as equals. The parent is a resource for the child to access, but doesn’t place …

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4 Surprising Things to Expect When You Reconcile with Your Estranged Adult Child

I often say that reconciliation between parents and estranged adult children is a process, not an event. It’s not like on Monday you’re estranged, on Tuesday you reconcile, and on Wednesday everything is back to normal. During and after reconciliation, things can feel anything but normal. You’re walking on eggshells, trying to avoid a replay …

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Why Apologize? And How to Do It Well

Well over half of all estranged adult children, according to one website, would like to receive an apology from the parents they’ve rejected. Of course, many of those parents would appreciate receiving an apology themselves. Their hearts are broken by what feels like callous disregard and disapproval from their estranging children. This creates a dilemma. …

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Staying Connected (to Yourself) During Estrangement

Living with estrangement from an adult child or children is like living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You’re often in your own world of pain. You may spend a lot of time in your head, in the past or future, more than in your body and the present moment. The “here and now” of your …

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Reconnect With Yourself First for Best Results

Here in the U.S., we’re celebrating Independence Day this week. And while you may be thinking about your child’s “independent” decision to cut ties with you, I’d like to talk about your independence. Actually, independence is just one aspect of a developmental process called individuation, which you may have heard me talk about with regard …

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Mothers Day / Fathers Day Survival Guide

NOTE: Prefer listening to reading? Listen now to the Reconnection Club Podcast audio adaptation of this article. It’s Episode #36: Four Steps to a Better Mothers Day. *   *   * Mothers Day and Fathers Day are just around the corner, causing anticipation, hope and dread for estranged parents everywhere. Most of those parents won’t hear …

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Being Best Friends Could Cause Trouble Later

Were you and your child ever best friends? It happens a lot in single-parent families that the child gets “promoted” by circumstances to friend, partner, and confidant. It can happen in any family. Maybe when you were growing up, you were your parent’s friend, helper, and companion. It might have made you feel good to …

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Why We Act Impulsively (And How Not To)

I recently attended a 2-day training with J. Eric Gentry, an expert on trauma and grief. During the training, I found myself thinking about what Dr. Gentry called “the threat response” and how it might affect estrangement and reconciliation between parents and adult children. There’s something important to understand about dealing with any stressful situation: …

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