Are you struggling to come to terms with the turn your relationship has taken with your adult child? It can be frustrating and painful to assimilate why your child, who you love to the moon and back, suddenly gives you the silent treatment.
Grown children who ignore their parents hardly ever feel they are doing something wrong. They lay the blame on the parents and presume their parents deserve the treatment they are being given.
As a parent, you can take control of the situation and change the way your child feels. Read on to know more about why grown children ignore their parents and learn how to fix the pieces of this family puzzle.
Why Do Grown Children Ignore their Parents?
A grown child could ignore their parents for various reasons. While these reasons may seem valid to the child, leading them to cut off ties from their parents, they are not always plausible and are generally misunderstandings that can be cleared up with a few parent–child sessions. Here are a few probable reasons why your grown child could be ignoring you.
- Favoritism: When you have more than one child, you may try your best to be fair and love your children equally. However, at some point in your life, you may find that one of your offsprings feels you are not playing fair. This could lead to bitterness later on in life.
- Childhood resentments: Some children take every piece of criticism to heart, and it is difficult for you, as a parent, to watch your behavior constantly. Childhood resentments can be another underlying reason why your child feels animosity towards you in adulthood.
- Unwelcome advice: If you offer unsolicited advice even when they can make their own decisions, they may feel like you don’t value their opinions. Although your advice may be well-meant, at times, it is better to take a step back and let your children learn from their own mistakes.
- Interfering in their married lives: You may be trying to be the doting grandparent by helping in parenting their children, but it can come off as meddling in their family life. Or if you pass a comment on their spouse, you could be considered judgmental and disrespectful.
- Ignoring boundaries: Once your child is an adult, you should be a little cautious and make sure you do not cross some boundaries, even if you have their well-being at heart. Respect their choices and values and let go of control at a certain age to maintain a healthy relationship.
Any of these reasons can lead to a feeling of discontentment in your relationship and eventually lead your child to ignore you.
Signs Your Grown Children Are Ignoring You
Parenting has its share of ups and downs. Look out for these signs that indicate your adult child is ignoring you.
- Rare or occasional meetings: Even though your grown child is now independent and does not need much support from you, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying each other’s company over lunch or just a walk in the park. If your meetings have become less frequent, and you can’t remember the last time you met, it is a sure sign that you are not a priority for your child.
- Avoiding family occasions: When a grown child creates flimsy excuses to avoid being part of family gatherings time and again, you can sense they are doing it on purpose to avoid being with you. And if they have stopped spending Christmas or Thanksgiving with you, they probably do not value their time with you.
- No calls: Thanks to mobile phones and the Internet, we can be in our children’s lives constantly, no matter in which part of the world they are. However, if you are the only one picking up the phone to check on your child, it shows a lack of interest from your child. They might call you, but only when they need money or favor from you.
- Actions that show rebellion: Usually, adult children are wise enough to take constructive advice from their parents. However, if they disregard your advice and do the opposite, it is a sign of rebellion. It indicates they are trying to ignore you.
- You hear about them from others: If your grown child does not bother to tell you about the important events in their lives, such as pregnancies, relocations, and new jobs, and you get to hear their news from someone else, know that they do not value your presence in their life and do not consider you a part of their family.
What Happens When Grown Children Ignore Their Parents?
The feeling that your grown child does not love you and does not want to have anything to do with you can be unbearable. The following are a few things that you could experience as a consequence of your children ignoring you.
- Feeling judged: You may feel everyone around you is judging you and your parenting methods. This could affect your relationship with the people around you.
- Depression: As people get older, family ties become more important. So, keeping in touch with their adult children is crucial for older parents. If their children ignore them, they can fall into depression.
- Sense of mourning: When your adult children cut you out of their life, it can feel like you have lost them, which could lead you to experience prolonged bouts of mourning. It is difficult to resolve these feelings due to the uncertainty in the relationship.
- Tough family holidays: What were once happy occasions become days filled with unhappy moments. Family celebrations bring more sadness than joy when parents miss their children.
- Caregiving problems: Since many senior parents are dependent on their children for a major part of their caregiving, a break in family ties leads to complications in arranging for the appropriate care they require.
- Guilt: Parents who have been alienated by their adult children can be consumed with guilt. They may feel they have not done enough for their children.
What To Do When Your Children Ignore You?
With no communication from your child, it can get extremely difficult to cope with your feelings. Nevertheless, you need to manage your anxiety and do certain things to put things in perspective.
- Let go of the anger: It is only natural that you feel betrayed and angry towards your child, but you need to take a step back and calmly look at the situation from an outsider’s point of view. This will help you let go of the anger and understand what is bothering you. Do not let outsiders fuel your anger against your child, as they may tend to blame your child for what you are going through.
- Stay in touch: Since your child is cutting off ties and not you, you need to continue taking the initiative to reach out and let them know you are thinking of them. Keep sending them messages, reminding them you love them and will always be there for them.
- Reach out to support groups: Consider joining a support group. It can help you share your feelings with people going through the same phase in their lives. You should also make it a point to stay connected with friends and family who understand the situation to not feel completely isolated.
- Forgive: If your child does reach out to you, be ready to forgive and let go of any hard feelings you may have. Focus on making yourself a better person and changing yourself so that you can work to improve your relationship with your child.
- Empathize and listen: Be ready to open your heart to your child. Listen to their viewpoint with an open mind. Even if you disagree and find it difficult to take the criticisms, prepare yourself to empathize and apologize rather than defend yourself. The fact that you are ready to listen and are not showing anger will go a long way in mending your relationship.
Any family issue can be stressful, but when it involves a rift with your adult child, it can pose a huge challenge. Do not allow your grief and pain to overwhelm you. Take the appropriate steps mentioned above and try to bring back normalcy slowly. With an open mind and an open heart, you will be able to overcome the pain and heal.