Holiday Survival Guide

holiday help

The holidays can be one of the toughest times of the year for parents estranged from adult children and grandchildren. It may be tempting to ignore, avoid, or downplay the holidays. You might go away on vacation. You might take on heaps of volunteer service to keep busy. Or you might just put your head …

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The Power of Great-itude


November is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and there’s usually a lot of talk about gratitude at this time of year. The practice of gratitude is good for mental health and well-being. But it’s hard to feel grateful when life isn’t treating you so well. Sure, your basic needs might be met and other things might …

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Terrible Triangles

No triangulation, please

Have you ever had someone talk to you about a problem they were having with someone else? How did it make you feel? You might have been uncomfortable finding yourself in the middle of their conflict. Or you might have enjoyed being trusted and/or offering support. Or perhaps a little bit of both? What you …

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The Myth of Closure

ambiguous loss

You know the heartache of having an estranged adult child or children. They seem to be gone, but they’re certainly not forgotten. Maybe you’ll be able to reconcile one of these days, but you can’t be sure. Did you know there’s a name for this phenomenon? Ambiguous Loss Back in 1999, psychology researcher Pauline Boss …

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A Legacy of Trauma


Recently I ran across an excellent article by fellow therapist Tamara Hill. It’s about the impact of inter-generational trauma on families. I wanted to share this with you because it’s important. Not just for your adult child(ren), but for you. I have some reservations about it as I’ll explain below, but overall I believe it’s …

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Be Your Own Person


Did you know that 19 countries celebrate their independence in July? These include the U.S. (July 4), Argentina (July 9th), Belgium (July 21st) and Peru (July 28th). Canada Day (July 1st) is more of a birthday celebration, but I’m sure if you’re Canadian you enjoy your independence as well. I got to thinking about the …

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How to Win Friends…

NOTE: If you prefer listening to reading, listen now to our Reconnection Club Podcast audio adaptation of this article. It’s Episode #47: How to Win Back Your Estranged Adult Child. Parents often ask me for practical tips on how to get through to adult children who estrange themselves. I’m pleased to say that I recently …

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Reconciliation is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

emerging into light

If you prefer listening to reading, don’t miss Reconnection Club Episode 55: Reconciliation Is a Marathon  *   *   * It’s always a thrill when I get email from parents who’ve succeeded in reuniting with their formerly estranged adult children. In their stories I hear self-awareness, stamina and courage, and I’m so filled with happiness for …

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Judicious, Not Judgmental


The other morning on the freeway, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the driver directly behind me, a young woman, holding a cell phone in both hands with her wrists resting on top of the steering wheel. She was focused on the phone, presumably texting (but maybe enjoying a mobile video conference?), …

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Dealing With Silence

waiting for the phone to ring

When silence is all that’s coming at you, life starts to shrink. Some days, worrying about your child is all there is. It feels wrong to go ahead and live your life, not knowing when you’ll see them again. To stop thinking about your estranged child for a while might feel like you’re giving up hope, …

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Compassion for Distress

Surprising Research Finds LESS Compassion In People Who’ve Been There! A series of studies out of Northwestern University found that people who have successfully navigated a difficult situation actually had less compassion for folks who were struggling with exactly the same thing! So if you’re looking for a therapist, counselor, or confidant to talk to …

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Sending Gifts

gifts falling from the sky

We’re already getting into the holiday season again. When you have a difficult relationship with an adult child, this can be one of the hardest times of the year. The weather turns cold and the days grow short, and the family you’re supposed to enjoy feels anything but warm and close. It can seem as …

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