How to Reconnect With Estranged Children

by Jaime Vargas-Benitez

The relationship between an estranged parent and child can be difficult on all parties involved. You can utilize counseling and hard work to rebuild your relationship with your children. Maybe you had a disagreement with your adult child, or somehow became disconnected from a minor child. Stay positive about the process of reconnecting. Focus on what you need to do to fix the situation. Furthermore, listen to your children's thoughts and feelings, and be open to admitting where you went wrong.

Repairing the Parent/Child Relationship

Attend reunification counseling with the children. If the children are young, they may be frightened and over-emotional depending on what was witnessed of the parents' relationship, says clinical psychologist Jancy King in her article "Reunification Counselling: Re-establishing a Positive Relationship Between Parent & Child," published on the Toronto Psychological Services website. Older children may be experiencing years worth of pent-up emotion towards an absent parent. Adult children may need help communicating with a parent with whom there was a disagreement. Reunification counseling can aid in resolving issues between parent and children.

Acknowledge what your mistakes were in the situation. Your children want to know they have your respect, and that you acknowledge your role in the broken relationship, says psychologist Joshua Coleman in his article "How Parents Can Start to Reconcile With Estranged Kids," found on the Greater Good Science Center website. It is not going to help your relationship with your children to blame others for the situation. Own your part in the estrangement between you and your children, and the children will respect you for that.

Do not compete for your children's affection with the other parent. The other parent may have a healthy relationship with the children. It is in your children's best interest to have a solid relationship with you both, advises associate professor of social work Edward Kruk in his article "The Impact of Parental Alienation on Children," published in "Psychology Today." Focus on building your bond with your children, and do not involve the other parent. The children need you to support the relationship with the other parent, because it helps the children relieve anxiety about the situation.

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About the Author

Jaime Vargas-Benitez has been a parenting writer since 2010. She has worked in the child wellness field in various roles for over 20 years. Along with the experiences of raising her own kids, she has been privileged enough to participate in the raising of hundreds of other children as well.

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