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Why Some Parents and Adult Children Just Can't Get Along by Sarah Epstein


Struggling to Connect

In some families, family members love the idea of spending time together, but when they do, they struggle to connect. They cannot find common ground. Perhaps the child always held different interests than the parents, but while living under the same roof, daily logistics were enough to make everyone feel connected. Sometimes, a parent or child takes on a new religion, way of life, or passion later in life that becomes so all-encompassing that it leaves little room for other conversation. Sometimes parents and children diverge in their beliefs, political leanings, or socioeconomic status and find little overlap in their realities. And so, when they get together, the family descends into awkward, disconnected silence.

In some families, one member feels closeness while the other feels a superficial connection. I have had adult children tell me that they go through the motions of trying to connect with their parents, but the conversation fails to feel meaningful to them and remains surface-level. Parents, too, may find that when they engage their child about the child's interests, that child feels closeness, while they feel bored or annoyed at the discussion at hand.

Bridging the Gap

Families can try to bridge the gap if everyone feels motivated to do so. Family members can rack their brains for things to talk about or get excited about together, like starting a book club or having a movie-watching club. They can make a goal to visit all the French restaurants or ice cream parlors in their city. Family members can work harder to show curiosity about each other’s worlds and develop an interest in their child's or parent’s interests. For some families, these efforts create a feeling of genuine closeness. For others, it feels like a Band-Aid for a deep, underlying wound and only makes the superficiality feel more uncomfortable.

A subtle form of grief emerges at this form of disconnection. With a difficult history, family members can point to a distinct reason that feels valid for not being close. Something as benign as having nothing in common can feel like insufficient reason to be disconnected, though. With more effort, they reason, they can create a richer, more interesting bond. But the reality is that, sometimes, the closeness that each person imagined may not be possible, and engaging with their parent and child on a superficial level is all that's left.


KEY POINTS

  • Sometimes, parents and adult children have nothing in common and it feels hard to connect.

  • Some families have always felt disconnected. For some, that distance starts after the child left home.

  • While interventions can help bridge the gap, they may feel inadequate.


Article from: Psychology Today

November 2, 2023

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2 ความคิดเห็น


It is a human need to have a loving parent…it’s heartbreaking when the parent is unable to provide that love regardless of the reasons. I have begun the process of reparenting my inner child and being a loving mom to myself. It may sound weird but the concept is key to healing childhood wounds and deal with abandonment. Consider looking at adultchildren.org and see if any of their information resonates with you.

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I have nothing in common with my mother, other than the fact that she’s my mother, and I have a longing for the nurturing of a mother.

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