Episode 38: If Your Child “Blows Hot and Cold”

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Your semi-estranged adult child might seem to be coming around. They’re back in contact. They agree to a meeting. The meeting goes great… But then just like that, they’re gone again. And after some time, they’re back again, wanting to connect. You feel drawn in by their conciliatory, even loving, attitude… Until they stop communicating …

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Episode 34: Was Your Child Your Best Friend?

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This episode is for everyone whose now-estranged adult child used to be their best friend. Many moms and dads whose children appeared to enjoy their friendship for years, now find themselves rejected by those very children. What happened to that delightful bond? Those long talks about anything and everything? The sharing, the connection, the enjoyment …

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Episode 32: How to Cope When There’s No Progress

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It’s discouraging for parents when estrangement from an adult child continues for weeks, months or years without any apparent progress. When your heart-felt letter is returned unopened, you ask yourself, “Now what do I do?” Taking action is the preferred response to painful silence. But it’s not necessarily a productive one. In this episode, Tina …

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Episode 27: Estrangement Hurts, But Not on Purpose

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There’s no question that estrangement from an adult child is painful for rejected parents. But many parents suffer even more than necessary, because they believe their child is willingly hurting them. Nobody wants to think of their child as heartless, cruel, mentally ill, easily brainwashed, or any of the other qualities often attributed to people …

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Episode 22: Stages of Estrangement

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Not every parent estranged from their adult child (or children) is in exactly the same place, emotionally or spiritually, during the estrangement. From observation, Tina hypothesizes that parents go through five predictable stages. And just like the stages of grief observed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, not everyone goes through all of them, and the stages don’t …

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Episode 13: Holiday Survival Guide

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For parents estranged from adult children, it’s not easy getting through the holidays. This episode contains six different survival tips to help see you through a potentially difficult time of year. You can’t choose whether the holidays come around, or whether your child decides to reconnect in time for you to celebrate together. But you …

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Episode 9: How to Stay Positive When You’re Estranged

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It’s incredibly sad and distressing to be estranged from your adult child or children. Yet a positive attitude can make life more manageable, no matter what’s going on. Being more positive is good for both mental and physical health. But adopting such an attitude is so much easier said than done, when you’re estranged from your …

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Episode 2: Estrangement is an Ambiguous Loss

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Estrangement from an adult child is what author Pauline Boss called an “ambiguous loss.” She wrote a book by that name in 1999, and although she didn’t talk specifically about estrangement, the circumstance definitely qualifies as similar to a familiar member being missing in action, or having a disease like Alzheimer’s, in which case they’re …

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Episode 1: Why Time is Your Friend

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Most estranged parents feel like time is a thief, stealing opportunities and happiness while they’re estranged from an adult child. This makes parents feel a bit desperate, so they reach out in ineffectual ways. But the reality is, you can only do so much. You can’t push the river. Fortunately, in addition to be a …

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Staying Connected (to Yourself) During Estrangement

Living with estrangement from an adult child or children is like living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You’re often in your own world of pain. You may spend a lot of time in your head, in the past or future, more than in your body and the present moment. The “here and now” of your …

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These 4 Things Affect How Long You’ll Be Estranged

How long does estrangement last?

I’m often asked how long estrangement between parents and their adult children typically lasts. Although there’s a wide range of answers from a few research studies, there’s nothing that can tell you how long you and your child(ren) will be separated. The one thing we’re pretty sure of, I’m pleased to tell you, is that …

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When You Don’t See Progress

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January’s the perfect time to take a fresh look at what progress looks like, not just in your relationship with your estranged adult child, but in general. The Chinese concept of yin and yang is a helpful one when you’re pursuing a goal, whether it’s improving a relationship, increasing your income, strengthening your body or …

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