Child Parent Relationship | WeHaveKids
Family is bond for life. But that may not be true in today’s world. It is very sad to know that family estrangements are on the rise just as divorce. And this is a very painful reality for both the family and the child affected. This happens when an individual distances himself from this family due to growing negativity in their minds and behavior. And the end result is family isolation and reduced communication.
When Grown Children Disrespect:
The reason for a child to distance himself from the family might lie in the behavior of one or both the parents and affecting parent and child relationships. Though it is true that parents love their children and are willing to do everything for them always but sometimes this may not be the case. Adolescence is the age of emotional changes and increased sensitivity. It has to be dealt with by the parents with extreme care and support. But when parents employ behaviors like abuse, betrayal, lack of support and bad parenting, they lose their child forever. Sometimes, drug and alcohol abuse may also be the reason for this distance. And hence children who always need emotional support and care from their parents, cease to have any contact with their parents. This is a very sad reality which often leads to very traumatic circumstances.
How to Parent Grown Children ? How to Deal with an
The distance between children and their parents is very difficult to bear for both the parties. Unlike other relationship estrangements like divorce, where you overcome your emotions and attachment after sometime and learn to move on. But the parent – child bond is the one that cannot be broken even over the course of time. It is the bond that is there since the time we are born. This bind is natural rather than forged. And as compared to other relationships, this bond breakdown follows a very unusual and unpredictable course that happens over a period of time. And this pain is strongly felt throughout the life.
How to normal parent-adult child relationship
Children seldom find any support from their surroundings including extended family members and friends. They are surrounded by people who fail to understand their perspective and their emotions. And people who try to intervene in the reconciliation process fail to understand the perspective of both the parents especially children. They do not make an attempt to find out why things went to such an extent in the first place. And this leads to emotional, physical and mental problems for the children later in life.
What should rather happen is that the children who begin to distance themselves from their families should be helped by professionals. They must be asked about the problems they encountered with one or both their parents and when it all started to get bad. They must have someone they can open up about their emotions and feelings. These children need someone who understands them and addresses their problems from their perspective.
The following are the reasons of family estrangements
- When children feel that they cannot communicate their problems with their parents effectively because of the careless behavior of the parents. Or when parents do not understand their children and always lecture them. Then this creates a negative communication between them and results in distances.
- The unhealthy communication quality leads to a decrease in communication quantity. Children do not want to talk to their parents because they know they will always get negative responses. Their parents rather than understanding them, will show them cold responses or sometimes abuse them and always disagree with them. They will try to impose their will on their children rather than listening to their new experiences and adventures.
- When parents physically distance themselves from their children due to work pressures or when children have to live with any one of the parent due to divorce; this leads to isolated behaviors in children. They feel that they are not needed by their parents and are not loved, then they start to make excuses to distance themselves from their parents
- When parents don’t have any emotions for their kids, their children also start to have no emotions at all for their parents. They do not love their parents and ultimately expect no love in return.
- This emotional void then leads to the buildup of negative feelings about the parents in their children. They do not think positively about their parents and choose to forget any happy memories they had with them.
- These children then have no desire left to reconcile with their parents. Because of what they go through, they prefer isolation and estrangement over going back to the environment they left. Even if there is a hope of reconciliation from the other side, the minds of the children are filled with such negative emotions that hinders them from going back.
- Children get the impression that their parents have nothing to offer them. That’s why grown children who ignore their parents and do not ask them for advice or money or anything. They have such negative expectations for their parents that they feel that they failed in fulfilling their role as a parent for their children.The children finally take a legal action change their last names and end the relationship for themselves.
Advice to Parents Who Are Estranged From
Value in grown children breaking from their parents is in rise.I had parents reach out to me saying my children broke away from me, I’m estranged from my children, my children don’t want to talk to me, they don’t want a relationship me or one of my children is gone and I don’t know how to connect with him. Can you help me , can you give me any advice and many times they come in very heartfelt ways and they say it’s strange that I’m reaching out to you, I felt maybe you would have some insight into how I might reconnect with my child especially if my child is saying many of the same things that you advocate.
I’ve actually talked to quite a few parents in return. I’ve wanted to help them and it’s an interesting thing and sometimes maybe even help them make some progress so what have I told parents and
this is what I want to say here who might come across is a little strange it might seem like gosh this seems contradictory, but actually I’m not against parents having good relationships with their children. I’m actually all for that so what do I tell parents?
Well the main thing that I tell parents when they’ve reached out to me and I would say to parents in general is take responsibility for your behavior. Look at the past see what you’ve done. See the harm that you caused or may have caused your child or your children. See the ways in which you’ve caused them pain, See the ways in which you may have abandoned them without maybe even realizing it at the time see the ways in which you neglected them see the flaws in your parenting in your parenting style in your parenting attitude things. You may have done wrong 20, 30 years ago maybe you’ve changed but what did you do wrong how did this negatively affect your child and take responsibility for it now. What mean to take responsibility for it ? what I see is taking responsibility for the errors that we’ve done. The bad behaviors that we have done is first just in our own relationship with our selves acknowledging what we’ve done acknowledging the unhealthy things that we’ve done. Also acknowledging the negative consequences it’s had on other people and taking responsibility for that saying yes it’s true.
I did that then a second part is changing the behavior. Not doing that anymore and also not pretending like it didn’t happen. So owning it being public about it and does this mean calling up your kid and saying listen I know you don’t want anything to do with me but this is what I did and this is what I did that was wrong etc etc etc. Well that’s another thing just think about that’s a separate idea and I think that’s something maybe to hold off on but definitely to consider but first the most important thing is to know it in one’s relationship with one’s own self.
What one did that was wrong that was unhealthy the harm that one caused and really to think about it. I think it’s also very important for parents to consider why did they do that baby ? Why did I do that behavior ? Why did I cause harm to my children ? I think it’s really important for parents to look at their relationship with their own parents, because often when parents are estranged from their children when their children don’t want anything to do with them, it’s a sign that the parents did some very unhealthy things in their relationship with their children that actually were replications of what happened in the parents relationship with their own parents and that maybe the child their
own children are saying. That’s no longer acceptable where often the parents themselves didn’t figure it out in time and didn’t put those boundaries with their own parents. So I think it’s really valuable for people who have children, who don’t want anything to do with them to take the opportunity take this distance take all that pain that comes up from being rejected by their own
children. Use it to grow use it to study themselves to look at themselves to write down their own history so if I’m speaking to you as a parent yourself to write down your own history to write down the history of your behave but also to write down the history of your childhood to write down the dynamics of your relationship with their own parents.
To see maybe there are some connections there and to work toward making those connections now.
Another thing is to listen to what your children your estranged children are saying is their reason for taking distance from you and to try to sort it out to take it very very seriously. Whatever they say to really listen to it. To take it in to come in with an assumption that actually there are some very very healthy reasons. Why your child doesn’t want to be close to you now ? That doesn’t mean that every time an adult child takes distance from their parents that the reason the child takes says for
taking distance is always correct for instance you have a responsibility to give me money you have a responsibility to pay for my life and I’m 27 years old and I want more money and you stopped giving me money you cut me off well screw you I’m not going to have anything to do with you anymore and it’s like, well is that a good reason to break from one’s parents. Because they’re not paying for your life when you’re 27.
I could argue maybe it’s actually not the best reason but underneath it there may be other things that actually are very healthy reasons to take distance like, wait why was the parent giving money to this adult child at in their late 20s up till that point maybe there was a lot of weird boundaries going on. So I think again anything the child says why they’re taking distance is worth considering and also a lot of times what I hear is when adult children break away from their parents the reasons they give are actually very legitimate. They’re actually saying very healthy reasons why they’re breaking away. They’re not actually incorrect they’re saying you mistreated me you abused me in this way you don’t talk to me in a respectful way you’re not healthy toward me you’re not kind maybe maybe you were good in some ways but you did some horrible things maybe to take distance from you for a while. This is a bottom line regardless of what an adult child’s reason is for taking distance from a parent. Underneath it there’s always always always some healthy reason for it there’s always some healthy nugget of truth in why they’re taking distance the adult child may not always know what that reason is the parent certainly may not always know what the reason is but underneath it there actually is always a healthy reason so that for me is a healthy assumption to have. Because also if the parent was so great and so consistent and so healthy that child would not want to break away it just wouldn’t make sense they’d want to continue that relationship with that really healthy loving parent who historically was healthy and loving. So if they’re breaking away something went wrong something didn’t go right.
Now another thing that can be really helpful for parents to do in these situations is to find someone to talk to often someone outside of the family system who they can bounce ideas off of and get feedback from and get feedback that’s actually fairly objective often when parents go to their circle they’re friends they can go to other people in the family often what they get is feedback that’s not very objective often they get people who pretty quickly sided with the parents and it kind of makes sense because a lot of times I think people seek out advice or counsel or they seek out some sort of sounding board and someone who is going to tell them what they want to hear someone who’s not going to tell them something that’s going to be really painful and I think a lot of times in the situations where children have really pulled away from their parents and don’t want anything to do with them the underlying objective truth is actually going to be painful for the parents so parents if they’re gonna get someone to bounce these ideas off of they need someone who’s going to have the strength to be able to say yeah. Actually you really do have a part in it and actually you have
the bigger part in it because you were the parent you were the one who set up this child parent dynamic you had the power in that historical relationship and so if this dynamic gets ruptured and if this is screwed up actually you were the one who created the basis of this dynamic now it can be very very hard for parents to find anybody who is going to be objective with them because a lot of times we have a whole society we have communities that are based on the sanctity of parents and a lot of people don’t want to give parents the bad news. They don’t want to tell them listen you’re really screwed up and there’s reasons your kid wants to get away from you it’s actually hard I think to find therapists who will say this I think a lot of therapists for starters are parents and more intuitively side with the perspective of the parents but I think it’s also hard even for therapists to tell people things that they don’t want to hear.
I remember once I heard someone say yeah going to therapy is actually going to get the bad news going to have someone who’s going to tell you the bad news about yourself and I thought wow actually that person is going to a pretty good therapist because I think a lot of therapists to keep the
money flowing in to keep that relationship with a client to keep something coming back again and again and again to keep the comfort in the relationship and this is not just therapists who this can be ministers this can be friends this can be family friends these can be other sorts of counselors coaches people want to tell people what they want to hear a lot of time what I’ve seen is when
parents are in pain. From basically being rejected by their children they want someone who’s going to make them feel good again and a lot of times I think the rejection that parents feel from having their kids break away from them all that pain that comes up from the parents is actual abandonment that really is left over abandonment from their own childhood. It’s their own history of abandonment and sometimes their children can kick that up in them and so when a therapist or a counselor or coach minister whatever it is friend hears that parents pain a lot of times they want to quell that pain and they sometimes will sell out the parents children I’ve heard it again and again and again therapist to say oh your kid has screwed up your kid is an addict too your kid as a you know as a narcissist your kid is a sociopath your kid is selfish your kid never took you seriously your kid is rejecting all that you hold dear your kid has turned against the ways the ways in which you raised them correctly. I don’t buy that and one of the big reasons is that if children grow up to have a lot of problems if children grow up to be screwed up if they have all these addictions or mental problems or whatever other problems they’re going through where did they learn that bad behavior what kind of environment raised them to be screwed up so the bottom line
if I can sum it all up what is the best way for a parent to reconnect with their child when they are estranged from their children the best way is to take responsibility for their own bad behavior historical and recent and present to behave in a more respectful manner to their children to actually
listen to their children and hear whatever it is. That the child is saying is their reasons for breaking away it’s the job of the parent to really in a fundamental way to assess the objectivity of what the child is saying to really make sense of it and to weigh it and to really come in with the assumption that for whatever reason the child is breaking away whatever they say the reasons are fundamentally good even if it’s not exactly the reasons the child is saying so to really figure out and understand why would this kid want to get away from me why would a child want to break away from their parents and to understand that fundamentally there must have been something that was troubling or screwed up in that historical relationship and also in the recent relationship and also to assume that the child’s breaking away at some level even though may not always look that way is a striving for the child to become more independent and more healthy and for the parent to respect that also the fundamental thing that a parent can do to try to rebuild their relationship with their child is to change their unhealthy behavior to become healthier not just to apologize to admit and say
I’m sorry but yeah that might be a real part of it and I think ultimately it would be to say yeah acknowledge this is what I did wrong to say it at some point to put it out there but the important
thing is not just to apologize and keep doing the bad behavior because I’ve seen that happen again and again and again and again parents say they do acknowledge some of their bad behavior or maybe even a lot of their bad behavior but they don’t change at some fundamental level
they keep doing it so to me the most important thing in rebuilding any sort of healthy relationship between a parent and a child is for the parent to look at their unhealthy behavior and change it
and how do you change it?
The way to change it is for the parent to continue looking at themselves to study their own history to see the ways in which they were abandoned mistreated or traumatized when they were children and to grieve that to heal that and to regain or maybe even to gain it in the first place their sense of becoming an integrated human being to become more mature to really grow up and in that way to be able to be more loving to their child to set better boundaries with their child to be more respectful their child to not give too much because a lot of times I think parents can try to make up for what they didn’t give their children when the children were young by giving them too much when they’re adults and that’s a different form of disrespect so basically to have healthier boundaries to treat that adult like the adult to respect the feelings of the child but to not cave in to them but also ultimately to become a healthy adult themselves.
[This article was posted in Jan 12, 2018 and updated in Jan 01, 2020]