Congratulations! You raised a kid that’s now a teenager or perhaps older. Grown Children who ignore their Parents can come from any and every household. It’s almost unthinkable that in a few years from now, your teenager will be ready to leave the nest. For some of you, your kids are already living independent lives. You don’t know where time has gone, and the baby you once cuddled and changed nappies for is all grown, taking bold steps, challenging you and sometimes outright ignoring you. It’s hard to take in, I know. You are not alone.
Before giving you what you need to know about what’s happening between you and your child, there is something else I must tell you. The allergy your child seems to have developed towards you is not about you; it’s about your child. Whatever it is you might be thinking, don’t make yourself the victim.
Parent-child confrontations are usual. They happen to you regardless of how great a parent you think you might have been or that you are. Knowing that this is inevitable places you in a better frame fo mind to prepare for it. Preparing for it means you’ll know precisely the position to adopt, to help your child when he or she goes through this phase. You can both become best friends when they come out the other side, it all depends on how you handle it.
With that out of the way here are the 5 crucial things you should know about grown children who ignore their parents:
1. Respect Their Boundaries
Your child knows they are grown, and you need to recognize this too. Failure to accept this reality has led to a lot of parents overstepping boundaries. This is one of the most significant issues with kids who ignore their parents. In case you don’t know what this looks like, it is when you try to jump to their rescue at every opportunity. Every good parent’s instinct is to rescue their child at the hint of trouble, but you’ve got to learn to trust them. If you don’t, they choose to stay away because they feel you are trying to control their lives.
Setting boundaries can be an unpleasant experience sometimes. Choose to respect their choices and learn how to have healthy disagreements. Be sure to be available for them whenever they need you, and in the long run, you will be rewarded with their respect and love for you. Feel free to consider some tips by James Lehman here.
2. Resolve Your Disagreement
It is not uncommon to have disputes with grown children. It is bound to happen with the development of strong personalities and preferences. The way you handle conflicts with your child often stays with them for a long while. If you’ve had a particularly nasty one that’s not been resolved, then your kid might end up ignoring you if they’ve not been doing that already. So what do you do? Don’t be too proud to apologize first. With a genuine apology to your grown child, your love for them will come through even if they don’t respond at first. You should also make sure you avoid trickery or power plays as this will only yield distrust and further separation. Read Kathy McCoy’s excellent article on Making Peace With Your Adult Children here.
3. Don’t Be Manipulative
Are you one of those who often repeat the phrase “after all I’ve done for you?” Nah, nobody likes to be manipulated. Playing this manipulation card all the time shows symptoms of a parent with insecurities and emotional baggage. Manipulation can be the emotional type or through financial control. Your child does not want to deal with this and will want to stay away because they don’t want to feel disrespected. You will ruin your chances of them forming a strong bond with you if you persist with this. Instead, be honest with them.
If you are feeling lonely and you need company, then just saying it. Remember they are not kids anymore; you probably got away with it when they were younger. As grown children, they’ll likely feel insulted by your attempts to trick them into a visit, or to do anything else. Manipulation is hurtful for a grown child. If you have a manipulative parent, then check out how to manage them (or your inlaws) here.
4. You Surround Yourself With People They Don’t Like
Your children may have nothing against you personally. Still, they don’t want to be associated with the people you associate with. It could be that they are not comfortable with those people because of something they know about them or because they make them feel uncomfortable. If these people exert any influence on you, this could be another reason because it’s likely you value them more than your grown child and they know this.
For as long as you are hanging around certain friends, they will probably continue to ignore you. It’s a cycle of life, really. At a time you either approved or disapproved of their friends. Now that they are grown they know well enough people to associate with and who not to associate with. It might be worth you giving their concerns some thought without dismissing it outright. If not, you need some wisdom here.
5. Nothing You’ve Done
It could be absolutely nothing at all that you have done. It could be that your grown kids are going through stuff that they need to sort out. It could be that the best thing for them at the moment is to stay away for a while. Your role should be to be there for them whenever they come calling. As one famous story once shared “leave your porch lights on”. Let them know that anytime they want to come home or need you, and they’ll always be welcome. Don’t stop thinking about them. Don’t stop praying for them. Don’t give up on them because though they might be ignoring you today and they wish they could tell you that they care but don’t know how to – deep down inside they most likely still got love for you.
Raising children is not easy nor free of errors. No matter your past with your child, it is never too late to make things right. There are different reasons they could be ignoring you but don’t let that be a reason not to reach out to them to make amends. This will take time. It’s a process. Recognise that there won’t be a quick fix and don’t be ashamed to seek help if you need it.