Love, Always

When a grown-up child doesn’t want a relationship with a parent…

Consider a situation that reads like this, or something quite similar: A parent raised their child. The parent loves their child. Now, that child is all grown up…

And all the parent wants is to enjoy a healthy, happy, mature relationship with their grown-up.

Only problem is…

This offspring doesn’t seem to want the same kind of relationship with their parent.

Or…

This offspring wants nothing to do with their parent.

This can be challenging for a parent.

It might be easy to assign blame. “After all I’ve done for you… this is the thanks I get!”

Or, a parent might turn to self-blame. “I messed up. I was a terrible excuse for a parent. No wonder my child wants nothing to do with  me.”

Self-doubt and second-guessing might creep in. “Maybe I should’ve done __________ differently… if only I’d said __________ instead of __________.”

Keep in mind that this article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a qualified health provider with questions about health and wellness, and prior to engaging in any personal growth program or technique.

That said, here are a few words to consider:

1. Parents might consider a possibility that deep down, their child may be craving their acceptance. This might begin with a parent’s acceptance of their child, at that time. No matter how challenging this may be for a parent, it might conceivably be a first, small step in the repair of the relationship.

2. Parents might be wise to keep in mind that if they desire to start a conversation with their child about what’s going on, that they approach this with care, compassion and love. It can be a good idea to first, ask if it’s OK to open up that kind of conversation.

3. Parents would be wise to keep in mind that if their child responds with something along the lines of, “No, I’m not open to talking about it”… respect that. If parents choose not to respect their child’s decision, they may be giving their child a reason to resent them. It might be wise to let it go for now, and perhaps consider trying to open the door again at a later time.

4. Parents would be wise to keep in mind that if their child gives permission to talk about the relationship, then to calmly and briefly, say what they want to say, but to consider resisting any temptation to justify or blame.

5. Parents would be wise to keep in mind that if they have any build-up of feelings inside, about this situation with their child, they may need to vent and release these emotions, safely and privately, before talking to their child. Otherwise it might not be that easy to stay calm during the conversation.

6. Parents would be wise to consider the importance of grieving a loss — even if it’s a temporary one. This may including letting themself cry about it.

7. Parents would be wise to consider the importance of self-forgiveness, knowing that they did the best they could with the skills they had at the time. As Oprah’s mentor, the late Maya Angelou, put it: “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

8. Parents would be wise to consider honoring themselves for giving their child the gift of life. This could be an opportunity to be the mother (or father) that they truly are… to be unconditionally loving… to love their child, no matter what… to accept their child, no matter what… to bless them and wish them well… to believe in their ability to heal whatever is ailing them… and when they do, to be there waiting… with open arms and a loving heart.

Until then…

9. Parents would be wise to consider keeping the love flowing, inside.

And…

10. Keeping hope alive.