When you send your estranged adult child a gift, it might not be obvious that this could put her or him in a difficult position…
If your child wants to be polite, they have to thank you for the gift.
That means contacting you, which they don’t want to do right now.
But if they don’t thank you for the gift, then they have to live with being rude for not doing so. (You did teach them to say “Thank you” for gifts, right?)
Do you notice the position they’re in? Your child must now choose between unwanted contact, and being rude.
This dilemma may be the reason why some estranged adult children are put off by gifts. Some even say they feel manipulated by them. They may become irritated, annoyed, or downright angry — the last thing a parent wants or intends when sending a present.
As an unwillingly estranged parent, you may view the gift as a sign of love and goodwill, a peace offering, or an apology.
But even a gift sent with good intentions can create a dilemma for estranged adult children.
In many cases, it’s better for parents to save their generosity for a time when the relationship has healed and gifts can be sent and received with goodwill.
To find out what parents can do toward healing and relationship repair, read Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child: Practical Tips and Tools to Heal Your Relationship.
For more on gift-giving, see also RC Podcast Episode 10: 5 Reasons NOT to Send Gifts to an Estranged Adult Child
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