When children abandon their parents – Part 2

"I get a letter a day from parents whose adult children literally abandon them, cut off ties permanently or temporarily, or are in their lives but are so critical and harsh, they're hurtful to be around,"

"I get a letter a day from parents whose adult children literally abandon them, cut off ties permanently or temporarily, or are in their lives but are so critical and harsh, they're hurtful to be around."Photo: Greatist


What happens when your child turns against you or even cuts off contact completely? Julie Beun finds out about the unkindest cut of all parents, ‘I hate you and I’m never going to speak to you again! You might hear those words once – if not several times – from your teen before she hits adulthood. But what happens when she really means them? According to US parenting expert Dr Joshua Coleman, you’re not alone. “I get a letter a day from parents whose adult children literally abandon them, cut off ties permanently or temporarily, or are in their lives but are so critical and harsh, they’re hurtful to be around,” he says. “In Western culture, it’s more common than uncommon for teens to be rude to their parents, and it’s becoming more common for them to grow into adults who want nothing to do with their parents.”

Drawing the line even if your children abandons you as a parent
If your adult child is physically or verbally abusive it may be time to let go. But think carefully before you
do. “Most parents give up too soon on their grown children who cut them off or greatly reduce contact,” says Coleman, who guarantees that if you continue to extend invitations (even if they’re refused) and treat
your estranged adult child as generously as you do your others, things will change over time. “It shows that
you love your child enough to fight for him even when you’re getting back nothing but grief.”?

Take responsibility for how you contributed to your child’s problems and stop worrying. If you fret that your adult child has no social life, for example, remember that worrying is akin to a vote of no confidence,” says Coleman.
If your adult child wants help, give it, but don’t constantly problem-solve.

Reach out to the children abandon you as their parents


It’s every parent’s nightmare – the child you nurtured and loved for years now wants nothing to do with you.

Avoid criticising your child’s life, spouse, finances, housework or leisure time. If your advice isn’t asked for, don’t offer it (unless there are signs of abuse). Even if he or she is still somewhat financially dependent and asks for ‘loans’, resist using it as leverage to have your say or demand a guilt visit.

“It may be that the only occasion you hear from your child is when he needs something,” says Coleman. “You can say no if you want to, but don’t get into a big, victimised, self-righteous stance. You can say, ‘Let’s have lunch next week and I can give it to you then.”

Also read: What to expect as an adult when your parents are having a divorce – Part 1

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