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Resolutions | Coping During the Holidays | The Rejected Parent Newsletter

This newsletter is for parents who are being rejected by their children and those who support them. I will be sending regular newsletters to give suggestions and support to parents dealing with rejection from their children on all levels. I generally support parents whose children are 18 years and under; however, some of this will apply to parents with adult children as well.

Hello Reader,

This newsletter is part of the Coping During the Holidays series. New Year's resolutions sometimes seem like they have no meaning when your child is not around. Maybe all you can think about is how to have contact with your child again, or perhaps you have given up. You may not be in a space to think about what the future brings for you.

Not all New Year's resolutions have to be about setting lofty goals of exercising more, eating better, or achieving a work-life balance. Parents going through this time may consider finding more ways to reconnect with their child, getting emotional support, or even learning how to get along with their co-parent better so there’s not so much tension in the family.

For parents experiencing rejection by their children, the focus of their lives can be different than an average person. It’s almost like they don’t have the luxury of exercising more or eating healthier right now, although those are important to maintain regularly to help mental health and functioning. Rejected parents can be in crisis mode and may have difficulty getting through day-to-day activities without having contact with their child.

Reestablishing contact with your child may need to start with how you care for yourself so that you can remain grounded and happier. Being in a more positive state of mind, which feels impossible right now, will put you in a position to be more open and see possibilities you may not see right now. When you are in a more positive place emotionally and have an opportunity for contact with your child, it may open doors to future contact.

Talking to children about their perceptions of their parents is eye-opening. In my work with court-involved family therapy, many children speak about the parent they don’t want to see as scary, angry, mean, or just too sad. With these families, children indicate a pattern of experiencing their parents in a negative emotional state. If children see their parents as angry or sad all of the time, it would make sense for them to want to spend less time with them gradually. Discovering this gave me hope for working with these families because now we have a “why” we can work with. Having no answers as to why a child rejects a parent is much more challenging.

Even if you don’t have a “why,” I think that if you can set some of your New Year’s goals for getting yourself in a better emotional state when you are around your child, it may help to open doors again to more contact with them. Do more things that bring you joy, as it may help you be in a better place when you do have contact with your child:

  • Listen to music with happy memories attached, or loudly sing along to your favorite lyrics.

  • Go to a playground, swing on a swing & recall times it was fun as a child.

  • Listen to birds talk to each other in a tree.

  • Contact an old friend and talk or get coffee with them.

  • Go out with friends to play games or socialize.

  • Watch a funny cartoon, movie, or play.

  • Plant a unique herb or vegetable garden.

  • Read that book you’ve always wanted time for.

  • Join a club of like-minded people: sports, hiking, dog walking, etc.

  • Book a trip to a favorite place.

  • Build something for yourself to use.

  • Craft a fun project you never have time for.

  • Organize a spot in your home.

There are many examples of things to bring you joy you can come up with outside of the above. I hope you can take inspiration from this list and create something meaningful for you. In this time you have without your child, focusing on things that bring joy and things to be grateful for can help elevate your mood. Practicing daily gratitude and doing things that bring joy will help you be in a better place when you are your child. They may not trust it at first, but over time, they will get used to seeing you more positively and, therefore, may be more open to seeing you again.

-Cathy Himlin


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