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When our adult kids don’t communicate with us!
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When our kids grow up and move out, they might start ignoring your calls and would not want to spend time with you. Many different feelings can arise when you reach out and your kids don’t respond.
You might get angry at them. It is important to understand your anger, as the root of anger is pain. As parents, we have invested time and energy into our children and expect that they will continue talk to us or need us. When they don’t respond, we might feel rejected or betrayed. Also, you might feel not needed, and that is a huge adjustment. It is important to recognize your pain and not to project that to your adult kids.
You might start calling them and sending them more frequent messages. You might start thinking about ways to manipulate your adult children by telling them that you need them, tell them that you are having health issues, etc. That is normal, but it is confusing to your children. It is the best to seek emotional support from the professionals (coach or therapist). That would help for you to understand your own emotions and will help you to learn to communicate your needs in a healthy way.
Feeling betrayed because your kids have their own life and forget to call you. Betrayal is a valid feeling, yet most of the time it started back in your childhood years. It is important on one hand to recognize your own experience and your need to feel loved and recognize. Find emotional support from friends, family and professionals.
Set clear boundaries with your adult children. They do need to know that you care, but there is a reason that they don’t want to communicate with you as much as you would like to. Understanding them and respecting their decision is very important for both of you.
It is important to remember that you have done an amazing job as a parent! Raising children is very difficult job, we don’t sleep at night, spent hours explaining homework, and thousands of miles driving them to all the after school activities, helping them with homework, listening to heartbreaking stories. It is important that it is our job as parents to provide support and guidance and to help our kids to become independent functioning adults. When out kids sail into their adult life, it is important to let them go without expectation that they will remember every single diaper you have changed. You are worthy and your kids are not responsible to make sure that you feel worthy.
Understanding attachment styles
When building heathy relationships with your adult children it is very helpful to understand attachment styles. Understanding another person’s need and being able to communicate your own need in a healthy way will help to develop healthy relationship with your adult children.
Attachment styles refer to the patterns of relational behaviors and emotional responses developed in childhood that shape how individuals approach and engage in relationships throughout their lives. The concept of attachment styles was originally proposed by psychologist John Bowlby and further expanded upon by psychologist Mary Ainsworth.
There are four main attachment styles:
Secure Attachment: Individuals with a secure attachment style feel comfortable with intimacy, seek support when needed, and have confidence in their relationships. They tend to have positive views of themselves and others. They value connection, trust, and communication in their relationships.
Secure attachment is a goal. We might feel secure some times or most of the times, yet in some overly stressful situations other styles will show up in our behavior.
Avoidant Attachment: People with an avoidant attachment style often have difficulty being emotionally vulnerable and may exhibit a fear of intimacy. They tend to value independence, self-reliance, and distance in relationships. They may have learned to minimize their emotional needs or feel discomfort with closeness due to past experiences.
Often people with avoidant attachment style would push away when they don’t feel good or feel danger. They might withdraw, stop talking, stop answering texts and calls. On the outside it might seems like they don’t care, or they don’t want to talk to them. Yet it is most likely that they feel inadequate, scared to be judged or scared to be a disappointment.
Anxious Attachment: Individuals with an anxious attachment style typically crave intimacy and connection, but may also worry about being abandoned or rejected. They can be sensitive to perceived threats to the relationship and seek reassurance and validation from their partners. They may have a heightened need for closeness and affirmation.
If you recognize this behavior in your self, it is important to recognize your fear to feel not needed and that usually can lead of feeling anxious and you might find your self stocking your person on social media or even in person. Recognizing and not judging yourself is very important.
Disorganized Attachment: Disorganized attachment is considered a less common attachment style and often reflects an inconsistent or unpredictable caregiving environment during childhood. People with a disorganized attachment style may exhibit conflicting behaviors and struggle with establishing healthy boundaries and emotional regulation in relationships.
Most people that show disorganized attachment endure more then most during their childhood years. In life it might be very confusing as message could be «come here, go away».
It’s important to note that attachment styles are not fixed or set in stone; they can evolve and change over time as individuals gain awareness and work on their relationship patterns. Understanding your own attachment style, as well as the styles of others, can provide insights into how you navigate and experience relationships, allowing for intentional growth and improved communication.
If you identify with having an avoidant attachment style, here are some strategies that may help:
1. Awareness: Recognize and understand your avoidant tendencies. Reflect on how your attachment style may have developed and how it impacts your relationships.
2. Self-reflection: Take the time to reflect on your emotions, needs, and fears. Understand that it’s okay to have emotional needs and seek support from others.
3. Communicate openly: Practice expressing your needs and feelings to your partner or loved ones. Be open about your fears and concerns. Effective communication can foster understanding and help build trust.
4. Gradual vulnerability: Start by gradually opening up to others and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Take small steps to share your thoughts and feelings, allowing your relationships to deepen slowly.
5. Develop self-soothing skills: Learn effective self-soothing techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy. These skills can help manage anxiety and stress during challenging emotional situations.
6. Seek therapy: Consider seeking professional therapy to work through any underlying issues related to your attachment style. A therapist can provide guidance, support, and help you develop healthier relationship patterns.
7. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and understand that it’s natural to have certain attachment patterns. Treat yourself with compassion and patience as you work towards forming more secure attachments.
Remember, changing attachment patterns takes time and effort. By being proactive, seeking support, and practicing new behaviors, you can gradually develop healthier attachment styles and form more fulfilling relationships.