Episode 133: Recovering From Mistakes

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The more parents learn about how to respond effectively to estrangement by adult children, the more they start to regret what they did (or didn’t do) in the past. Regret is the price of change; when certain changes make sense, we almost always wish we’d made them sooner. But in this episode (use the player …

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Episode 131: Preparing for Family Therapy

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If you get the opportunity for family therapy with your estranged adult child, there are things a parent needs to know. Family therapy is not mediation. Nor is it like marital or couples counseling. For it to be successful, family therapy with children of any age is something for which parents must be prepared. In …

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Episode 130: Reconciliation Fatigue

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Most rejected parents are overjoyed at the thought of reconnecting with their estranged adult children. But once reconciliation begins, there’s often a more complicated experience in store. Many parents describe a continuing feeling of walking on eggshells after reconciliation. To avoid falling back into estrangement, they find themselves checking in with their formerly estranged adult …

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Episode 129: 7 Ways Parents Waste Time During Estrangement

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Visiting websites where estranged adult children commiserate with each other… Worrying about influences beyond your control… Focusing exclusively on getting an emotionally distant adult child to communicate with you… These are a few ways parents waste precious time during unwanted estrangement from adult children. It’s understandable to want the pain to end. But in trying …

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Episode 128: “Working On Yourself” (Part 2)

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Smart parents are keen not to waste time during estrangement from their adult child(ren). So they set about working on themselves in a good-faith effort to prepare for reconnection. If you have the time, energy and support for personal development, you’re ahead of the pack. But what does “working on yourself” really mean? And who …

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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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