According to psychologist and author of “When parents hurt”, Joshua Coleman, estrangement is considerably transforming families in America. Indeed, both parents and adult children can become estranged from the family and become unable to repair or empathize with the damaged relationship.
It is a scary and alarming phenomenon spreading through the new generations of adult children. Why do they stop talking to and seeing their parents? Coleman argues that parents and children have different memories of childhood. Parents accuse their children of rewriting their childhood history, while children claim parents refuse to acknowledge the harm they might have caused or are still causing. Who is right, and who is wrong? Coleman explains that both sides of the family fail to recognize the rise of personal growth and the pursuit of individual happiness, and how it may need to overcome the psychological obstacles of family relationships. Family relationships are not based on mutual obligations anymore. They now revolve around acknowledging each other’s identity. Failure to do so can lead to an irreparable shift.
It is fair to say that if both parents and children fail to recognize each other’s identities and growth, estrangement is likely to become the future of all families. So, what can parents do today to strengthen the bond with their children?
Don’t wait until it is too late to build a bond
Building and strengthening the bond with your child starts now. There is no need to wait until they are an adult themselves to engage meaningfully with them. They would have grown used to not having you around and will not need a relationship with you by that point.
So, it is essential to make time when they are young to enjoy activities together. Playing sports together can be a great way of motivating each other while having fun. But, if sports aren’t your thing, they are many other options, such as working on a common project or playing a weekend together in nature.
Understand how you need each other
Did you know that the thing that surprises old parents the most is to hear from their adult kids that they didn’t receive what they needed during their childhood?
But I loved you, and I supported you, parents say.
But the adult child has no recollection of it.
Unfortunately, both statements can be correct. People express and want affection in a variety of ways, as the Firo-B assessment can reveal. Consequently, parents may have shown a personal interest in their child in a manner that the child acknowledged at the time or was comfortable with. So, understanding how each other engages with people on a personal level can make a huge difference. Parents who have a child with autism are well aware of these differences. But they exist between every individual. Overlooking how your child and yourself express and want specific behaviors can affect your relationship.
Nobody wants to discover that their child doesn’t want anything to do with them when they’re grown up. Unfortunately, as estrangement is on the verge of becoming a mainstream phenomenon, both parents and children must accept that maintaining a relationship demands investment in time and mutual respect. We are redefining families, so the sooner you embrace the new definition, the closer your family bond will become.