Over two episodes, 108 and 109, Tina touches on six obstacles that challenge parents trying to reconnect with their estranged adult children: Confusion, comparison, defensiveness, paralysis, emotional reasoning, and fear.
Part 1 (Episode 108) addressed the first three and Part 2 (this episode) the second three.
Over and over, these six internal stumbling blocks keep parents from making progress. Tina explains the difficulties and what you can do to get past them.
While there may be external obstacles between you and your estranged adult child, start where you have the most power; dismantle internal obstacles first.
A self that is whole has more power to overcome challenges than one in pieces.
More episodes from "The Reconnection Club Podcast"
119. Finding Out Where the Boundaries Are
8:33Parents of adult children, whether estranged or not, sometimes (or often) bump into boundaries they didn’t know were there. They might be asked to call before dropping in, to speak to their child’s spouse a certain way, or to respect a grandchild’s dietary restrictions, bedtime or other limits. Even when boundary lines are clearly drawn, they can still be a source of friction in the parent-adult child relationship. But when boundaries are unclear or seem to change frequently, parents may feel both frustrated and insecure. The “walking on eggshells” feeling that many parents experience around their adult children is in large part a fear of setting the relationship back by unwittingly crossing invisible lines. In this episode, Tina offers some thoughts about boundaries, including why your adult child may be withholding information about them, and how to find out where the lines are. For practical tips on how to repair estranged relationships with adult children and their spouses or partners, see Tina's book, Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child.
118. Does Your Adult Child Lack Communication Skills?
11:19Parent-adult child estrangement is essentially a communication problem. Many unwillingly estranged parents are dismayed by what they view as a lack of communication skills in their adult children. “If only he’d tell me what’s wrong,” they lament. Or, “Why does she have to such awful language?” Fortunately, communication takes two. If you have any contact with your estranged adult child, you can contribute greatly to improved interactions. Even without direct contact, anything you send in writing will have an impact on the tone of your relationship. In this episode, Tina points out that nobody communicates in a vacuum, least of all family. Listen to this thought-provoking episode to learn how to enjoy better communication with your adult child(ren), and others. Find Tina's book at Amazon: Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child
117. Heroes and Villains
7:12Family conflict is inherently dramatic. This is according to one dictionary that defines drama as “any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results, e.g. the drama of a murder trial.” The dictionary might as well have used parent-adult child estrangement as an example of drama, since it entails the elements mentioned above. In this episode, Tina reminds us that most dramas involve heroes and villains. But in parent-adult child estrangement, that dichotomy presents parents with an obvious problem. If the parent (as the rejected party) is the hero, then they must live with the notion that they raised a villain or villains. But if the estranged adult child is the hero, then the parent must make sense of how his best efforts to parent well, including the sacrifices he made, landed him in the villain role. As a matter of expediency, Tina suggests refusing to view the situation in black-and-white terms.
116. What Do We Owe Our Parents?
10:02Part of the pain of being rejected by an adult child is knowing how much, and for how long, you sacrificed energy and time to parent her or him. You did as well as you could within the given circumstances. Why can’t your adult child cut you some slack? Estrangement can uncover expectations of reciprocity from one’s children. “I’m not asking for much,” you might say; “I just want to know my child is okay.” Or “I’d just like to see my grandchildren once in a while.” When parents’ desire for contact with an adult child and/or grandchild(ren) is thwarted, the sense of injustice can be consuming. It raises the question of what we all, as somebody’s children, owe our parents. After a brief ethical exploration of this question, Tina suggests that certain conditions are usually in place before adult children reciprocate. She also addresses the problem of how to deal with feelings of injustice. Episode link: Check out Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings By Letting Yourself Have Them on Amazon
115. Before You Apologize
8:58Once they recover from the shock of realizing their adult children have become estranged, many parents are quick to apologize in order to make things right. While the desire to make amends usually comes from a good place, early apologies can miss the mark. Before you consider apologizing to an estranged adult child, first ask yourself whether an apology is necessary. In many cases, an apology would be very much appreciated. But for others, it's not important. If you know an apology is in order, it may mean more to get it right than to do it soon. In this workshop-style episode, Tina describes an exercise to do before you sit down to write to your child, and gives you 5 reasons why doing this first makes sense. For more tips and tools, check out Tina's book, Reconnecting With Your Estranged Adult Child.
114. Why Your Adult Child's Reasons for Estrangement Keep Changing
10:19You might be surprised when your adult child's reasons for estrangement seem to change over time, or depending on whom they're telling. But if you think it's because they weren't valid in the first place, this episode could change your mind and help you find a path forward together.
113. Your Adult Child's Difficult Partner
10:16Raise your hand if you think your estranged adult child’s spouse or partner is the main cause of the estrangement between you. If your hand is raised, you have lots of company. Parents who are unwillingly estranged from an adult child often worry that a son- or daughter-in-law has driven a wedge between them. They feel powerless in the face of that person’s influence, and wonder if they’ll ever be allowed to be close to their adult child or grandchildren again. This is admittedly a frightening and frustrating position for parents and grandparents. But as Tina points out in this thought-provoking episode, things are not always as they seem. Show notes are at reconnectionclub.com/113
110. Knowing vs. Doing
9:46If only we always did what we know we should do, instead of what we somehow end up doing despite our better judgment. When it comes to reconnecting with estranged adult children, many parents have good information to go on, and even better intentions. They know what to do, whether it be listening more, reaching out less, or something else. But if you’re like the rest of us, you don’t always put what you know into practice. What gets in the way, and what can you do about it if you haven’t been following your best protocol to solve the estrangement of your adult child(ren)? In this episode, Tina talks about two big obstacles that keep knowing from becoming doing. Show notes at https://reconnectionclub.com/110