Feeling Powerless in the Face of Estrangement

Prefer listening to reading? For more on feeling powerless as a rejected parent, listen to the Reconnection Club Podcast episodes 68 and 71. *   *   * Many parents of estranged adult children feel powerless. They can’t make the child call them. They can’t force her to respond to texts. He won’t tell them where he …

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You Always Have Choices

Happy New Year! As a parent who’s estranged from an adult child or children, you may feel like your options for how to move forward in the new year vis-a-vis your child are limited. Or even non-existent. Your child seems to hold all the cards. If s/he won’t talk to you, what are you supposed …

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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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Your Circle of Control

circle of control

We all have people, circumstances and events that affect and concern us. Let’s call that group of items our “circle of concern.” Our personal circles of concern may overlap, but what concerns one person might not concern another. For example, any kind of legislation affecting mental health professionals in Colorado and Oregon will fall within …

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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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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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Coping with Inconsistent Contact

If you have any contact with your child at all, you might feel dismayed at how inconsistent it is. You may be in the post-reconciliation phase, when you hoped everything would be fine again. Or their inconsistency might be part of an on-again, off-again cycle of “now you see me, now you don’t,” and reconciliation …

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Being Best Friends Could Cause Trouble Later

If you prefer listening to reading, we have a Reconnection Club Podcast episode on this topic. Check out Episode 34: Was Your Child Your Best Friend?  *   *   * 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 …

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Emotional Estrangement

Do you prefer listening to reading? Listen to an audio version of this article: Reconnection Club Podcast Episode 49: Emotional Estrangement  *   *   * Parents sometimes ask me, “My child talks to me, but I don’t feel comfortable with him; are we estranged?” This article is my response. If you’re in touch with your child, …

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Why We Act Impulsively (And How Not To)

Do you prefer listening to reading? Listen to an audio version of this article here: Reconnection Club Podcast Episode 35  *   *   * 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 …

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Seek First to Understand

NOTE: If you prefer listening to reading, check out the Reconnection Club Podcast Episode #41, Seek First to Understand. One of the most powerful maxims in human relations theory is this pithy advice from Stephen R. Covey: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Covey himself called it “the single most important principle” in …

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Healthy Giving

winter horses

Do you prefer listening to reading? For an audio treatment of this topic, you can listen to Reconnection Club Podcast Episode #64: Estrangement and Healthy Giving. * * * Healthy giving has boundaries and respects the wishes of the recipient. It can be challenging to give from a place of pure generosity, especially when you’re …

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Thankless Giving

Unwanted gift

[Do you prefer listening to reading? This article was adapted for audio in Episode 10 of The Reconnection Club Podcast: 5 Reasons Not to Send Gifts to an Estranged Adult Child] Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving Day will soon be upon us. It’s supposed to be a time for gratitude … Yet many estranged parents, …

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