Reconnecting with adult children

Tension rises in estranged adult children with their parents

When an adult child decides to go no contact with their parents, it is generally for good reason. The adult child generally feels seriously wronged by the parent. They know going “no contact” or “minimum/low contact” is a serious step (minimum contact being only important events like holidays, birthdays, or big life events) and can cause a permanent rift in the relationship. If the parent or adult child wants to attempt to rekindle a relationship, this article is for both parties.

  1. Understand that some things can’t come back from. If there was domestic abuse of any kind (psychological abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, etc.) people may feel that there was no ‘redemption’ from this. This is very valid. Survivors are not “supposed” to forgive their abusers. Some do to bring themselves a sense of peace, others just go numb to the abuser. Both methods are perfectly valid.
  2. Consent is key. There is no sense in attempting to rebuild a relationship if consent is not given. Attempting to force yourself in a person’s life is only going to make everyone miserable. The opposing party needs to say “okay, let’s try”. If they aren’t giving you the okay to at least try, there is no sense in attempting to force yourself into their life. If consent is not given, stop reading this article. The rest of this doesn’t apply to you.
  3. Go easy on the messages. As tempting as it is to pour your heart and soul into the first few messages in trying to rekindle a relationship (or talk over the phone/video call or talk in person), do not do it. There’s a strong change you’ll send them running away from you. Instead of going on a long paragraph professing how sorry you are about everything, keep it only to a sentence or two in the beginning
  4. Be humble, accept your mistakes. Because humans are naturally social and emotional beings, we all make mistakes, espicially in the heat of the moment. Accept the fact that both you and the person you cut out of your life probably made a mistake or two along the way. Accept the possibility that you let your peers possibly negatively influence your perception of the opposing party.
  5. Therapy is your best friend. Individual therapy to address what went wrong, where, as well as your own personal flaws. When you feel you’ve made adequate progress, ask your therapist if they feel it would be a good time to bring in the other person to therapy. Keep in mind the therapist would basically act as a mediator so things don’t get too heated (or worse, violent).
  6. Avoid accusatory statements if possible. Yes, someone seriously wronged the other person. However, if you constantly verbally attack someone, they are likely to strike back and it will turn into an endless finger pointing contest. Generally speaking, people change if adequate time has passed. Avoid constantly bringing up old baggage. However, if the person has not changed, stop the conversation. You can not force someone to change.
  7. Accept that rekindling relationships take time. Things are not suddenly going to be 100% okay overnight. The person needs time to process the change. This could take months, sometimes years.

Adult children and their parents relationships vary greatly. This is no “easy trick” to try to rekindle relationships. If everyone wants to rebuild a relationship, fantastic! Otherwise, do not force yourself onto someone. Therapy can be vital in restoring these “long lost” relationships. A therapist can give you valuable input on yourself and the other person.

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.