How to Deal With Adult Children Who Ignore You

by Blair Foy

Parenting is one of the greatest responsibilities a person can take on. After raising children from birth to adulthood, most parents look forward to having a long-lasting relationship with their adult children. Unfortunately, circumstances sometimes arise where an adult child chooses to ignore his parents. These situations can often cause hurt feelings and emotions, but parents can attempt to rebuild a relationship with an estranged adult child.

Send your child a handwritten letter expressing your feelings of loss about your current relationship status. When writing the letter, do not impose any judgments or place blame. Write to your child about the bond you had when she was younger and how you wish to rekindle that relationship. Express that you are willing to hear her feelings about the situation and that you desire to start fresh and anew.

Wait for a response. Allow your child to take the time he needs to process your letter and to decide what he feels about your message.

Support your child's decision. If your adult child chooses not to rebuild a relationship with you, understand that you have done all that you can do. You have expressed your feelings to her, as well as your hopes for the future. As an adult, your child does not have to stay in contact with you. If your child does choose to reconnect with you, start with small steps, and let her set parameters. Ask her what she would like to do next. Give your child space as she makes this decision so you do not come off as overbearing.

Seek support from friends, religious leaders and therapy sessions, if possible. Talk to those who you feel comfortable with about your feelings. Understand that to be a loving parent to an adult child, you cannot harbor any guilt about your relationship. Focus on hope for the future.

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  • Remember that once you have contacted your adult child, you cannot control his decision. As much as it may hurt and tug at your heartstrings, he gets to decide if he wants to have a relationship with you. Forcing a relationship can create feelings of resentment and tension. Support your child so he understands that regardless of what is going on, you continue to care.

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