Free U.S. Shipping on orders over $20.00


New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Friday, June 19, 2020
What to Do If Your Child Has Asked for No Contact: An excerpt from RECONNECTING WITH YOUR ESTRANGED ADULT CHILD by Tina Gilbertson

Ten million Gen X and Baby Boomer parents have estranged adult children. Parents wonder: How did this happen? Where did I go wrong? While time, in and of itself, does not necessarily heal, actions do, and while every estrangement includes situation-specific variables, there are practical, effective, and universal techniques for understanding and healing these not-uncommon breaches. Tina Gilbertson, psychotherapist and author of Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child: Practical Tips and Tools to Heal Your Relationship, has developed techniques and tools over years of face-to-face and online work with parents, who have found her strategies transformative and even life-changing. 

We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the book.

# # #

Try not to let shame, hurt, or bitterness stop you from gaining a clear understanding of how this happened. Has it happened before in your family? Did your child learn to cut people off when she was young? How has the communication been, not just with her but in the family in general? The more you understand, the more avenues there are for change.

Get counseling. You don’t have to cope with this alone. In counseling you can attend to your own evolution as a human being with a heart, a mind, a soul, and a purpose on this earth. Which of your own inner Child’s needs have yet to be met? What might you be capable of, given enough support? Your personal growth is not a consolation prize. It’s the prize. And when you’re winning, your child can win, too.

Dare to hope. The majority of adult children are not happy about being estranged from parents. They wish like crazy for even one small reason to thaw. They may be afraid to hope that things could be different, but you don’t have to be. You have the power to set the tone for the relationship for the rest of your life. Can you believe in yourself enough to try?

Make a plan for reestablishing contact. First, decide whether you feel strong enough to make an attempt — or several attempts — at contact that may be rejected. If this is the way it’s been, it’s not likely to change right away. If you’re not sure you’re ready, find ways to fill your bucket until you’re stronger. 

Resuming Contact
Reestablishing contact is a delicate process: technically, you’re violating your child’s request for no contact. But as the Parent you don’t have to give the Child everything she demands. Sometimes what the Child wants is less than what she deserves. Everyone is worthy of parents who will love and cherish them in ways they can appreciate. You might need to make a few changes in the dynamics to help your child feel that way about you, but I’m betting you’re up for the effort.

Your child didn’t desire any more contact with the old you, but he hasn’t yet met the new you — the parent who has spent time grieving, healing, and growing, and has come out the other side a more whole person. The new you is calmer, more mature, and committed to taking responsibility for the relationship you share with your child. Let that image of a new you inspire you to move forward with confidence, and become the finest Parent you can be.

When reestablishing contact, your best chance for success is with a message that comes from a place of calm, caring, and humility — the opposite of self-centeredness. Remember that humility is the prerogative of the powerful. Those with no clout have nothing to be humble about.

Your reconnection message should do the following and little else:

  • Acknowledge the no-contact request.
  • Apologize for not being able to fulfill the request anymore.
  • Validate the child’s desire for no contact with the old you.
  • Assert your own responsibility to create a better relationship.
  • Communicate your openness to criticism.
  • Avoid laying claims to grandchildren.
  • Let the child know when they can expect further communication.

The more you respect your child’s boundaries, the sooner you’re likely to be invited in. 

Even if the initial contact goes well, be prepared to give it time. The most common response to positive contact is more silence. Chalk it up to ambivalence and a need to see consistency; don’t be confused or discouraged by continued silence. Reconciliation is a process, not an event.

If it’s clear your child wants space, the best thing you can do for your future relationship is to tolerate missing them right now. The fact that time’s a-ticking is a cruel fact of life, but it doesn’t change what works. The most respectful response to a request for silence is silence.

Estranged adult children don’t want to be lulled into a false sense of security only to be disappointed when positive changes fail to stick. They may fear that if they respond right away, they’ll get hooked into an interaction that feels disappointingly familiar. They might feel safer taking a wait-and-see approach to new developments.

No matter what changes you make in the way you relate to them, trust requires consistency, and consistency always takes time. Silence is just another interval in the necessary passage of time. Try not to think of it as a waste. It’s not. Maintain your course and remember that the only constant is change.

# # #

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist and the author of Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Glamour, Real Simple, and Redbook. In 2019, Tina cofounded, offering education, community, and support to help estranged parents repair their relationships with their adult children. Originally from Vancouver, BC, Canada, she now lives in Denver, CO. Find out more about her work at

Excerpted from the book Reconnecting with Your Estranged Adult Child. Copyright © 2020 by Tina Gilbertson






July 2020 (2)
June 2020 (4)
May 2020 (4)
April 2020 (2)
November 2019 (2)
October 2019 (5)
September 2019 (4)
August 2019 (5)
July 2019 (3)
June 2019 (4)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (4)
January 2019 (5)
December 2018 (3)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (5)
May 2018 (7)
April 2018 (5)
March 2018 (5)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (5)
December 2017 (3)
November 2017 (6)
October 2017 (6)
September 2017 (6)
August 2017 (6)
July 2017 (5)
June 2017 (7)
May 2017 (6)
April 2017 (6)
March 2017 (8)
February 2017 (5)
January 2017 (5)
December 2016 (6)
November 2016 (8)
October 2016 (6)
September 2016 (7)
August 2016 (6)
July 2016 (6)
June 2016 (7)
May 2016 (7)
April 2016 (6)
March 2016 (7)
February 2016 (6)
January 2016 (6)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (7)
October 2015 (7)
September 2015 (6)
August 2015 (7)
July 2015 (9)
June 2015 (9)
May 2015 (8)
April 2015 (9)
March 2015 (9)
February 2015 (8)
January 2015 (8)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (7)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (9)
August 2014 (8)
July 2014 (10)
June 2014 (8)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (9)
February 2014 (9)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (7)
November 2013 (4)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (4)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (3)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (4)
October 2012 (5)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (3)
July 2012 (2)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (2)
April 2012 (3)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (4)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (3)
April 2011 (4)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (1)
December 2010 (3)
November 2010 (3)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (2)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (2)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (5)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (1)