Rules of Estrangement

Why Adult Children Cut Ties and How to Heal the Conflict

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Pub Date 02 Mar 2021 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2021

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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.
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...

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ISBN 9780593136867
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Featured Reviews

Family estrangement--more common than not.

Sound and illuminating advice for very tricky family situations involving estrangement and broken relationships. No guarantees of reconciliation, but sound suggestions that might give clarity and ways forward towards understanding. Well worth a thorough investigation.

A Rodale ARC via NetGalley
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)

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RULES OF ESTRANGEMENT: Why Adult Children Cut Ties and How to Heal the Conflict.

One of the most devastating and heartbreaking ordeals that a parent will ever have to face except the death of a child or children is dealing with the pain and suffering when your Adult Child decides to cut off all contact with his/her parent(s). Joshua Coleman who is the author of this book could also be summed up as an expert in estrangement in families. He has had first hand experience because his eldest child who is a daughter had at one time cut all ties with him. He also cites numerous composites of both estranged parents and also the estrange adult child's viewpoints. First off I am amazed at how often this happens in today's day and age versus when I was growing up. Parent's of estranged adult children have to take 100 percent responsibility for causing the estrangement if they ever hope to reconcile with their adult child. They may not agree with the reasons that the estranged adult child gives for reasons of the cut off. But if they hope to end the estrangement the parents must come from a place of empathy and try to view the estranged adult child's perspective. This is done by attempting to draft an apology letter to the estranged adult child. What struck me about this book's powerful message is that as a parent most try their best to be the best parent that they can be by not repeating the same mistakes that the parent experienced growing up by their own parent. Parent's generally try to give their children all of the advantages that they themselves were not given and still that doesn't guarantee that your adult child won't accuse you of hurting them or for their reasons from cutting off their parents.

The list of reasons for adult children cutting off their parents either one or both is much too exhaustive to go into in a single review. Divorce can be a contributing factor where one parent tries to alienate the adult child from the other parent. Getting angry or defensive or blaming the adult child in any way can be a recipe for disaster. Joshua Coleman suggests that if an estranged parent has any hopes of reconciliation with their adult child whom has chosen to cut ties the parent or parents must take the high road. There is also sibling estrangement which occurs if one of the adult child perceives that a particular sibling was the favorite child or has been given more materialistic opportunities. He suggests that sibling estrangement does not cause the same degrees of pain and suffering in each other as it does to a parent. Some parent's cited their estranged adult child's girlfriend, fiancee and later daughter or son in law is the reason for parent estrangement. He urges estranged parents never to put down or criticize the daughter or son in law no matter what as this will lead to their estranged adult child to side against the parents with their spouse. I found that the subject was given a broad assessment as to the multitude of reason's that this rising epidemic occurs. This was not a topic that made for easy reading but it does offer steps, myths and ways of carrying on a joyful and peaceful life if reconciliation doesn't happen. Joshua Coleman does seem to have a high success rate if he can successfully email or urge the estranged adult child to enter therapy with the estranged parents and the estranged adult child if both are able to enter family therapy.

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Thank you to Net Galley, Joshua Coleman and Rodale Inc./Harmony publishing for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

#RulesOfEstrangement #JoshuaColeman #RodaleIncHarmonyPublishing #NetGalley

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