Parent and Child Estrangement

It’s natural for parents and children to butt heads fairly often as they won’t always share the same opinions or understanding of situations. Occasionally a situation can cause a seemingly irreconcilable rift between a parent and child and lead to long-lasting estrangement. Reasons for estrangement:

  • Parental Illness 

If a parent suffers from a physical or mental illness they may be unable to take their child’s emotional and physical needs into consideration. Illnesses such as bipolar disorder or drug additions can cause extreme impairments in a parent which can make it difficult for a child to feel safe, loved or interact with the parent.

  •  Life Changes

Situations such as a big move to a new area or a divorce can cause a child to feel isolated from their parents. The child may harbor resentment toward one or both parents which can create a hostile living environment and lead to total avoidance.

  • Abuse

Emotional, physical or sexual abuse by a parent can cause severe depression and other social and emotional disorders in a child. Parents who use their authority to deliberately hurt or manipulate their child can inflict lifelong damage to the child’s sense of self-worth, social skills, emotional stability and mental health.

Overcoming estrangement

In most circumstances, estrangement between a parent and child can overcome if both parties are willing to work together to rebuild the relationship.

Tips for overcoming parent and child estrangement:

  • Be willing to make an effort.

Unless a child was abused by the parent, he has to truly want a relationship with his estranged parent and willing to make the effort to make it work.

  • Be patient.

Trust and understanding take time and effort to build but can be lost in an instant. Remember nothing will magically heal your relationship over night and there may be some backslides along the way.

  • Let go of the past.

Be willing to wipe the slate clean and don’t bring up past experiences or situations that led to your estrangement. Using the past as a weapon is a surefire way to prohibit any sort of relationship in the future.

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