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 68: You (The Rejected Parent) Are Not Powerless

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If you feel powerless in the face of your adult child’s estrangement, that’s understandable. You can’t force your child to return your texts, let alone reunite. It’s a horrible feeling, to have so little power over something so important. At the same time, powerlessness is a dangerous place to be for your mental health. Every …

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Feeling Insecure in Relationships

I don’t always share my relationship-themed PsychologyToday.com posts with estranged parents. Often they’re just not relevant to this audience. But today’s post struck me as being maybe a little bit more interesting, at least to some parents. Several Reconnection Club members have been talking in our forums about relationships in general.  They’re sharing that they …

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Episode 45: Declare Your Independence

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Independence is not just for countries. Nor is it reserved for adolescents seeking freedom from the binding restrictions of home. For parents estranged from adult children, the concept of independence is often overlooked. But cultivating independence can have a positive impact on a rejected parent’s quality of life. That includes how you handle unwanted estrangement. …

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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 39: Parent-Adult Child Estrangement & Your Self-Esteem

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When an adult child is estranged, the pain of disconnection is in part related to the parent’s level of self-esteem. Although any parent with a heart will feel the sting of a child’s rejection, those whose self-esteem is injured (i.e., low) feel it far more deeply. The rejection has implications for them that not everyone …

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Feeling Powerless in the Face of Estrangement

Many parents of estranged adult children feel powerless. They can’t make the child call them. They can’t force her to respond to texts. He won’t tell them where he lives, let alone let them see the grandchildren… It’s no wonder parents feel powerless. But that’s a painful way to live. All adults need to have …

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What If Your Estranged Adult Child Just Doesn’t Like You?

Over the years, I’ve heard more than one parent express the concern that their estranged adult child doesn’t have reason to reconcile, because they don’t even like the parent in the first place. Recently, one of our Reconnection Club members posed this question in our forums: If your estranged adult child doesn’t like you, is …

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Episode 29: If Your Child Asks You to Get Therapy

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“You should get therapy.” Has your adult child said those words to you? Have they made therapy a condition of continuing the relationship? Being told to seek therapy is no one’s idea of a compliment. But for parents of estranged adult children, it may be the start of a fantastic voyage into their own inner …

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What’s Your Parenting Style?

Permissive, authoritarian, or authoritative?

Think for a moment about how your parents raised you. Were they permissive, authoritarian, or authoritative? Psychologist Diana Baumrind (1927-2018) observed these 3 different parenting styles and noticed distinct outcomes for children… Permissive parents view their children more or less as equals. The parent is a resource for the child to access, but doesn’t place …

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Your Circle of Control

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We all have people, circumstances and events that affect and concern us. Let’s call that group of items our “circle of concern.” Our personal circles of concern may overlap, but what concerns one person might not concern another. For example, any kind of legislation affecting mental health professionals in Colorado and Oregon will fall within …

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Reconnect With Yourself First for Best Results

Here in the U.S., we’re celebrating Independence Day this week. And while you may be thinking about your child’s “independent” decision to cut ties with you, I’d like to talk about your independence. Actually, independence is just one aspect of a developmental process called individuation, which you may have heard me talk about with regard …

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The Impact of Emotional Immaturity

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[Do you prefer listening to reading? Listen to the Reconnection Club Podcast episode based on this article, When an Adult Child Seems Emotionally Immature.] Many parents I work with individually tell me that their estranged adult child seems young for his or her age. I hear about 30-year-olds throwing trantrums and 40-year-olds who can’t seem …

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A New Start

Make a fresh start this year

Well, you made it. You survived the holidays, and now the blank canvas of a new year awaits your brush. Some parents estranged from their adult children feel depressed at this time of the year. They think, ‘Oh, great. Another year of estrangement to look forward to. What’s the point?’ While those feelings are understandable, …

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Be Your Own Person


Did you know that 19 countries celebrate their independence in July? These include the U.S. (July 4), Argentina (July 9th), Belgium (July 21st) and Peru (July 28th). Canada Day (July 1st) is more of a birthday celebration, but I’m sure if you’re Canadian you enjoy your independence as well. I got to thinking about the …

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