Who “Owns” the Problem of Estrangement?

If your adult child has distanced himself from you and/or other family members, it’s tempting to think of this as a problem that belongs to him. After all, he’s the one who created the estrangement by refusing contact. So doesn’t he, in some sense, “own” what’s happening? That thinking is understandable, and it makes sense …

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Episode 19: Is Your Child Blaming You for Her Problems?

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Rejected parents sometimes say things like, “My child has made a lot of bad choices. She’s miserable, and according to her, it’s all my fault.” In other words, the adult child is choosing to blame her parent or parents for her problems. Treating them like garbage because she feels bad about herself. Turning parents into …

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Episode 12: Why Apologize If You’re Not Guilty?

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Like everyone else, you made your share of mistakes in parenting. But you weren’t so horrible that you deserve to be treated like a criminal. Although child abuse is a cause of many estrangements, you didn’t necessarily abuse your child. So why won’t your adult child cut you some slack? Why is she demanding that …

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Episode 8: Don’t Take the Blame, Do Take Responsibility

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Taking responsibility is not the same as accepting blame. Blame is punitive, destructive, and a dead end. Responsibility, on the other hand, is constructive. Responsibility says, “I’ll take on this challenging task!” Taking responsibility for your relationship with your estranged adult child is an intentional act that puts you in the driver’s seat. If you …

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Episode 5: The 4 Horsemen of the Apology

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A good apology is the ultimate relationship repair tool, and a must for anyone estranged against their wishes. Still, many parents are hesitant to embrace the idea of apologizing to their estranged adult children. I’ve thought a lot about why this is, and have come up with what I call the “Four Horsemen of the …

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