A guide for parents whose adult children have cut off contact that reveals the hidden logic of estrangement, explores its cultural causes, and offers practical advice for parents trying to reestablish contact with their adult children.
“Finally, here’s a hopeful, comprehensive, and compassionate guide to navigating one of the most painful experiences for parents and their adult children alike.”—Lori Gottlieb, psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Labeled a silent epidemic by a growing number of therapists and researchers, estrangement is one of the most disorienting and painful experiences of a parent's life. Popular opinion typically tells a one-sided story of parents who got what they deserved or overly entitled adult children who wrongly blame their parents. However, the reasons for estrangement are far more complex and varied. As a result of rising rates of individualism, an increasing cultural emphasis on happiness, growing economic insecurity, and a historically recent perception that parents are obstacles to personal growth, many parents find themselves forever shut out of the lives of their adult children and grandchildren.
As a trusted psychologist whose own daughter cut off contact for several years and eventually reconciled, Dr. Joshua Coleman is uniquely qualified to guide parents in navigating these fraught interactions. He helps to alleviate the ongoing feelings of shame, hurt, guilt, and sorrow that commonly attend these dynamics. By placing estrangement into a cultural context, Dr. Coleman helps parents better understand the mindset of their adult children and teaches them how to implement the strategies for reconciliation and healing that he has seen work in his forty years of practice. Rules of Estrangement gives parents the language and the emotional tools to engage in meaningful conversation with their child, the framework to cultivate a healthy relationship moving forward, and the ability to move on if reconciliation is no longer possible.
While estrangement is a complex and tender topic, Dr. Coleman's insightful approach is based on empathy and understanding for both the parent and the adult child.