Helping parents heal from estrangement with their adult sons and daughters. Hosted by psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson, author of "Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child."
106. Estrangement and Sibling Rivalry
10:09Sibling rivalry is an unfortunate fact of life in many families. It can contribute to estrangement from parents as well. There are two situations where this is especially true, which Tina addresses in this informative episode. One is when your estranged adult child accuses you of playing favorites, either in childhood or on a continuing basis, thereby promoting sibling rivalry. Another is when two or more of your adult children aren’t getting along with each other. Often this type of conflict is due to, or exacerbated by, the estrangement of one sibling from parents and possibly other family members. In this episode, Tina makes suggestions about how to handle each of the above scenarios. You as the parent have more power than you might think in both cases.
105. Making Necessary Changes
11:32To work your way back to a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with your currently estranged adult child, there might be changes you wish to make. Something went wrong in the relationship you share. To repair your damaged bond, you may wish to show up in a different way for your adult child. Typical changes desired are for parents to listen more, criticize less, reduce or increase expectations placed on the adult child, etc. Many changes requested by estranged adult children are ones that could benefit the parent as well. For this reason, and because the relationship may depend on it, you need to know how to actually change – not just to talk about it, but to do it. This episode outlines four specific steps to making a change. Be ready to take notes!
104. Let Young Adults Be Young Adults
9:08It can be nerve-wracking, launching a young adult. You’re still a parent, but your child has reached the age of majority. Suddenly, your influence is legally nil. But your attachment is no less strong. How can you continue to help and support a young adult if they no longer seek your counsel? What can (or should) you do if you think they’re making poor decisions? In this episode, Tina normalizes the emotional challenge of parenting young adults, while inspiring you to be there for your adult child(ren) in a way that’s appropriate to this new stage of their lives. You may not be able to guide your adult child’s path from this point forward, but you can still have a positive continuing influence as a supportive parent. And remember that everything you’ve ever taught them, and the personal example you’ve set, will live on in your child’s life.
103. "What Should I Apologize For?"
11:13If you don’t know what to apologize for when it comes to your estranged adult child(ren), it may be that no apology is needed. But if you sense that an apology would be healing, then there’s work to do. Knowing what to apologize for is the result of effort; you have to try to understand what happened in the relationship and why your child currently prefers distance. Tina suggests in this episode that if you don't know what to apologize for, it's probably too early for an apology. Since premature apologies can do more harm than good, Tina outlines steps you can take to acquire the knowledge you need.
102. Handling Accusations That Seem Baseless
12:00Parents who are working to repair a relationship with an adult child know that validation is important. But how can you validate something that seems patently false? If an accusation is serious enough to get you into legal trouble, this episode is not for you. Please seek legal counsel instead. But if you’ve been accused of garden-variety poor behavior and you have no idea where the accusation is coming from, listen to this episode for Tina’s thoughts on how to offer a response that can heal and repair a damaged bond.
101. Estrangement From Grandchildren
12:40Grandchild estrangement is one of the most painful aspects of estrangement, which is a surprisingly common problem in families. In this episode, Tina shares some observations about this phenomenon, and explains why some adult children feel justified in cutting off a grandparent, even if no one involved is happy about it. There are reasons why grandchild estrangement may occur beside the one mentioned in this episode, but regardless of what’s motivating the separation, Tina gently guides grandparents toward a possible solution.
100. Why They Don't Reach Out When They Need Help
11:04Why on earth don’t estranged adult children reach out to parents if they need help? Surely the estrangement can be put aside, at least until the crisis is over? But it doesn’t always happen. Are estranged adult children just trying to keep up a façade? Does it hurt their egos for parents to know they’re struggling? Tina suggests in this episode that there are at least 3 other reasons why estranged adult children might not reach out to parents for help. A fourth, obvious reason that isn’t addressed in the episode is this: 4) They may be able to handle things without help. Sometimes a parent's only option is to trust adult children to make good decisions, or else to learn from mistakes. For many more practical tips on how to repair an estranged relationship with your adult child(ren) and yourself, see Tina’s book, Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child.
99. Road Map to Reconnection, Part 3
20:38Episodes 97, 98 and 99 form a 3-part series outlining an overall stepwise approach to reconnecting with your estranged adult child. In the 3rd and final episode of this series, you'll find out why it's important to go through the steps in order, and not to enter Step 3 prematurely. By the time you get to this last step, you should already have completed 90% of the work of reconnection -- even without your adult child's participation. Tina cautions that many rejected parents go through the steps backwards, expending energy in fruitless efforts for which they haven't yet built a foundation. You'll also hear about three different traps that parents can fall into, in trying to repair an estrangement. Once you've spent constructive time in Steps 1 and 2, you'll be prepared for Step 3, which should be the easiest of the three, if approached in order.
98. Road Map to Reconnection, Part 2
19:55Episodes 97, 98 and 99 form a 3-part series outlining an overall stepwise approach to reconnecting with your estranged adult child. In this second episode of the series, Tina talks about how long to spend on Step 1 before progressing to Step 2, and why you don't have to rely on an estranged adult child to provide information about why they're estranged or how to make repairs. In addition to providing ideas for specific activities that are helpful for Step 2, Tina normalizes the nervous feeling of walking on eggshells, and being afraid to mess up. This too shall pass!
97. Road Map to Reconnection, Part 1
16:07Episodes 97, 98 and 99 form a 3-part series outlining an overall stepwise approach to reconnecting with your estranged adult child. In the first episode, Tina explains why it's important to slow down and avoid acting impulsively, from a place of desperation. This foundational episode provides a rationale for Step 1, and then lists specific tasks appropriate for this first phase of responding to your adult child's estrangement. You'll learn why it's necessary to pay attention to your nervous system, and how best to avoid unnecessary suffering. (According to Buddhism, pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional.)