Episode 123: The Escalation Trap

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Some time ago, your adult child asked you to give him space. He became estranged. But now he’s reached out to you. The door has been opened at last! You send your child an invitation, a photo, or a link. And… he’s gone again. What happened? Why does an adult child reach out to her …

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Episode 122: Language Matters

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Vicious. Nasty. Controlling. Mean. How do you feel when you read those words? If you’ve been thinking about your estranged adult child(ren) in these terms, the language you’re using may be affecting your ability to solve the problem of estrangement. Compare “My child is being cruel” with “I miss feeling close and connected.” The first …

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Episode 121: “I’m Not Perfect”

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If you’ve ever apologized to your estranged adult child and included the fact that you’re not perfect, chances are you didn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know. If they’re honest with themselves, estranged adult children also know that they’re not perfect, either. Because no one is. “I’m not perfect” is a common refrain from …

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Episode 120: Rules of Thumb Are Not Rules

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Have you ever heard the following rules of thumb for parents of estranged adult children? “Always give your estranged adult child the last word when texting.” “Never reach out to them if they’ve asked for no contact.” “Don’t send gifts.” “You have to apologize if you want to reconcile.” These rules of thumb get bandied …

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Episode 119: Finding Out Where the Boundaries Are

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Parents of adult children, whether estranged or not, sometimes (or often) bump into boundaries they didn’t know were there. They might be asked to call before dropping in, to speak to their child’s spouse a certain way, or to respect a grandchild’s dietary restrictions, bedtime or other limits. Even when boundary lines are clearly drawn, …

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Episode 117: Heroes and Villains

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Family conflict is inherently dramatic. This is according to one dictionary that defines drama as “any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results, e.g. the drama of a murder trial.” The dictionary might as well have used parent-adult child estrangement as an example of drama, since it entails …

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Episode 116: What Do We Owe Our Parents?

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Part of the pain of being rejected by an adult child is knowing how much, and for how long, you sacrificed energy and time to parent her or him. You did as well as you could within the given circumstances. Why can’t your adult child cut you some slack? Estrangement can uncover expectations of reciprocity …

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Episode 115: Before You Apologize

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Once they recover from the shock of realizing their adult children have become estranged, many parents are quick to apologize in order to make things right. While the desire to make amends usually comes from a good place, early apologies can miss the mark. Before you consider apologizing to an estranged adult child, first ask …

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Episode 113: Your Adult Child’s Difficult Partner

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Raise your hand if you think your estranged adult child’s spouse or partner is the main cause of the estrangement between you. If your hand is raised, you have lots of company. Parents who are unwillingly estranged from an adult child often worry that a son- or daughter-in-law has driven a wedge between them. They …

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Episode 110: Knowing vs. Doing

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If only we always did what we know we should do, instead of what we somehow end up doing despite our better judgment. When it comes to reconnecting with estranged adult children, many parents have good information to go on, and even better intentions. They know what to do, whether it be listening more, reaching …

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Episode 109: Common Obstacles, Part 2

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Over two episodes, 108 and 109, Tina touches on six obstacles that challenge parents trying to reconnect with their estranged adult children. The inspiration for this two-parter came from Tina’s work with hundreds of rejected parents. As an estrangement counselor, she kept seeing parents running into the same six obstacles: Confusion, comparison, defensiveness, paralysis, emotional …

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Episode 108: Common Obstacles, Part 1

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Over two episodes, 108 and 109, Tina touches on six obstacles that challenge parents trying to reconnect with their estranged adult children. The inspiration for this two-parter came from Tina’s work with hundreds of rejected parents. As an estrangement counselor, she kept seeing parents running into the same six obstacles: Confusion, comparison, defensiveness, paralysis, emotional …

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Episode 105: Making Necessary Changes

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To work your way back to a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with your currently estranged adult child, there might be changes you wish to make. Something went wrong in the relationship you share. To repair your damaged bond, you may wish to show up in a different way for your adult child. Typical changes desired …

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