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Writing to Your Child | 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 first newsletter is part of the Coping During the Holidays series. It’s so hard not being able to see your child as much as you used to. Maybe you are being restricted now and have little to no contact. That is hard enough on a parent, but when the holiday season comes around between Thanksgiving and New Year's, it’s especially hard on parents who are cut off from their child.

One simple idea to reach out to your child during this time is a handwritten card or letter that briefly states how much you love them. It's important to make this about your support or love for them. The idea of unconditional love needs to come through.

What parents need to avoid is putting demands, making threats to restrict presents or support, or expressing anger towards them. It's understandable that parents would be angry or frustrated over not being able to see their children. Having all of those feeling make sense, in addition to feeling so hurt you can’t think of anything but how unfair it is for you and your child right now.

How can you shift your feelings from being flooded with anger or hurt to feeling love towards your child? One way that helps is picturing when you first held your child. Remember how strong your love for them was the second you looked into their adorable little face. After months of waiting, the time was really here. This sweet little infant was in your arms and dependent on you. Or maybe you adopted a child, and cuddling or reading to them was that joyous moment you remember. Now that you have remembered that positive moment, reaching out to your child from a loving space will be easier.

Another tip on writing to your child is keeping it brief. I have seen parents write multiple-paged letters about everything going wrong, requests for a child to change their attitude or show respect, and so on. Instead of highlighting anything negative that's going on, your note or letter needs to be brief and positive. Here are some ideas of topics you can write to your child about to help them feel how much you love them:

  • How proud you are of their accomplishments.

  • You recognize their hard work at school, an activity, or other significant milestone.

  • Reminisce about an especially memorable holiday activity or moment in the past when you didn’t have a strained relationship.

Being brief and positive will increase your chances of a door opening to your child sometime in the future. You may not see it right now, but these positive interactions with them are like planting seeds to help them realize you are not all “bad” or “scary.” Children tend to forget the positive aspects of their relationship with one parent.

With a parent absent from a child's life, nothing balances out the negative they have in their head. Sometimes, writing to them is the key. And, even if you think your child would read it, there’s a chance they may not get your letter or card. Or perhaps your child won't read it. Keep a duplicate for yourself when you get an opportunity to connect with them in the future. Who knows, you might get a chance to give them this lovely note when they are more open to it, even if it’s ten years later.

-Cathy Himlin


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