Parenting adult children and maintaining strong relationships with adult children, takes adjustment and flexibility. As parents get older, so do their children. While you’ll always be their parent, the lives of adult children bring new dynamics and complexities. Careers, spouses, and in-laws enter the picture. And sometimes family estrangement can occur.
In this episode of our retirement podcast, our guest is Tina Gilbertson, author of Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child.
We discuss with Tina:
- What the research shows about how common this is and how it’s trending
- What causes some relationships with adult children to fracture
- The different types of estrangement
- How the path to reconciliation begins
- What successful reconciliations have in common
- How to keep relationships with adult children healthy
Tina joins us from Denver, Colorado.
“The first step to reconciliation is to recognize that reconciliation is required and find compassion for yourself for finding yourself in this painful, difficult, sometimes excruciating position. Compassion is always the very first step…So the first step is self-compassion. That’s also important because when you can find compassion for yourself, you naturally find that you feel more compassion also for your child. And that is a good basis for forming a connection. That mutual compassion is sort of I’m okay. You’re okay. I’m a good person. You’re a good person. That’s why that in my mind is Step One.”
“…When we talk about healthy relationships, one thing that almost automatically comes up is boundaries and respecting boundaries. And some people don’t like the concept of boundaries because it feels aggressive or it feels cold. But I think that is a misinterpretation of what boundaries are meant to do. We have fences around our yards, but we also have always a gate in the fence that can be opened and closed. It’s not a moat. It’s just saying, this is my yard. And that is not my yard. And so respecting boundaries is an important thing for parents to do with adult children. But it’s also a thing too, that they need to require of everyone else, including their adult child. “And it may seem it’s counterintuitive to talk to a parent. Who’s been rejected on willingly about holding her own boundaries. And yet it’s terribly important because many parents feel like doormats like their child is walking all over them.”
Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist who specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children and is the founder of the Reconnection Club, the essential online resource for parents of estranged adult children.
She is the author of Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings By Letting Yourself Have Them and Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child. Her weekly podcast is called The Reconnection Club Podcast.
As an expert on relationships and communication, she’s been featured in dozens of media outlets including Forbes, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and Fast Company.
Tina holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology, is licensed as an LPC in Colorado and Oregon, and is also a Board-Certified Telemental Health Provider, offering online therapy to clients in both states. Though her office is currently in Denver, she offers training and consulting all over the world.
For More on Tina Gilbertson
Her latest book Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child
Podcast Episodes You May Like
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