Why “Teaching Someone a Lesson” Doesn’t Work

It’s so human to want to teach someone a lesson when they’re behaving badly. Maybe because of the fundamental attribution error (we attribute other people’s behavior to temperament, ours to circumstances), we tend to focus on correcting poor behavior in other people. We aren’t quite as ardent when it comes to scrutinizing ourselves. I think …

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What Are You Working On?

Many Reconnection Club members are working on letters of apology to their estranged adult children. They’ve decided that an apology is appropriate, but in thinking about it, they bump into the fact that it’s not always easy to find exactly the right words. That’s why some of our members post draft apologies in our forums. …

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The Readiness Factor

How long does estrangement last?

In every relationship, there’s always the possibility that one of you is ready to take a new step when the other is not. As a parent unwillingly estranged from one or more of your adult children, you can do everything right, say all the right things, and still not get to reconciliation if the timing …

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Episode 87: When You Don’t Get a Response

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Parents of estranged adult children often get no response to messages they send. With every lack of response, parents become more and more discouraged. They take their child’s silence as continued rejection, and they start to feel powerless. While it’s true that adult children often don’t respond if they don’t like the message, there are …

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Episode 83: Patience is Not Passive

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Many parents rejected by an adult child are committed to working toward a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. But they recognize that even if they work very hard and do everything right, reconciliation can take more time than they’d like. Some estranged adult children simply need more time before they’re ready to try again. They may …

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Episode 81: “We Used to Be So Close”

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You’d be surprised how many estranged adult children come from close families. It’s a myth that parents must have been toxic and abusive for adult children to seek estrangement. Sometimes the very closeness that characterizes a family is what underlies the adult child’s need for distance. But how can that be? Aren’t close families good …

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Episode 80: “But My Child Had a Great Childhood!”

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Understanding your adult child’s reasons for estrangement can be hard, especially when there’s no communication. But it can seem downright mystifying when you look back at your child’s youth. “He had so many wonderful experiences!” you may exclaim, “We made sure he had good times and lots of opportunities.” You wonder how someone who was …

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Episode 79: How Do Adult Children View Estrangement?

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Parents want to know what adult children are thinking when they cut themselves off from family. How can they do this? Is it really okay with them? Are they happy? Research suggests answers to these questions, and Tina shares the information in this informative episode. Your child’s decisions are guided by what he knows and …

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Episode 78: Why Indulge an Estranged Adult Child?

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In addition to feeling the pain of loss of connection with an estranged adult child, you may also be aware of feelings of resentment. Particularly if you’ve spent any time in the Reconnection Club universe, you might resent the idea of having to “indulge” your adult child. Her estrangement might seem so cruel, selfish, and …

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Episode 71: Three Ways Rejected Parents Give Away Their Power

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It’s common for rejected parents who are unwillingly estranged from an adult child to feel utterly powerless. And that’s a horrible feeling in the face of a breach in an important relationship. But there are three specific assumptions parents make that leave them truly powerless. These insidious assumptions are: Your child’s estrangement is entirely about …

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Taking Control of the Estrangement from Your Adult Child

One of the worst things about being estranged from your adult child(ren), besides the terrifying uncertainty of the outcome, is feeling like you have no control over the situation. You text your child, but she doesn’t text back. You issue invitations, and there’s no response.  All contact seems to be on your child’s terms, not …

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Episode 63: What You Resist Persists

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When you go in for a vaccination, the nurse might tell you to relax just before he gives you the needle. Obviously, relaxing is not natural in a situation like this. And yet resisting the needle creates tension, and may even make the shot more painful. Resistance is not only futile, it often creates more …

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Handling Complaints from Your Estranged Adult Child

If you manage to open communication with your estranged adult child, you’ll need to be prepared for the crucial task of receiving complaints. Unless you have a conscious plan for your response, the rift could easily widen. Because the way parents handle complaints makes the estrangement either better or worse. Here’s what you need to …

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