Are you concerned about your adult child?
Do you feel like you need to improve your communication?
There is plenty of information available about helping struggling adult children when they live at home or close by.
But it is more challenging when your child doesn’t live at home.
It creates a dilemma when you have concerns that your child may be using substances or caught up in a full-blown substance use issue.
The Compassion Antidote is my new book that answers so many of the questions that readers of this post may have – including those about how to help their child find recovery. Click on the book for the Amazon link. I hope it is helpful.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/the-compassion-antidote-mock-up.png?fit=223%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/the-compassion-antidote-mock-up.png?fit=428%2C575&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” class=”wp-image-20570 size-medium” src=”https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/the-compassion-antidote-mock-up.png?resize=223%2C300&ssl=1″ alt=”The Compassion Antidote by Cathy Taughinbaugh” width=”223″ height=”300″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/the-compassion-antidote-mock-up.png?resize=223%2C300&ssl=1 223w, https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/the-compassion-antidote-mock-up.png?w=428&ssl=1 428w” sizes=”(max-width: 223px) 100vw, 223px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />This is my new book that answers many of the questions that readers of this post may have – including how to help their child find recovery. It’s available in many book retailers – click here for the Amazon link.Some adults maintain good contact no matter what happens in their life. Yet, many parents find their children tend to call less often when they live far away and struggle with substances.
I remember having this discussion with my daughter soon after she was in recovery. She reminded me that your life is a mess when you are using drugs. You don’t have anything positive to say and want to avoid phone calls with your parents. You know your parent will ask questions you don’t feel comfortable answering. Then again, you may have answers, but they are not the ones your parents want to hear. So it’s easier not to answer or respond to their calls.
It can be painful and problematic if your young adult child decides not to answer phone calls or texts. The lack of contact creates more anxiety. It can turn into resentment, anger, and sadness.
I like the Invitation to Change approach. It works well for those families whose children live in the home or the same town. They have an opportunity to use positive communication strategies and address the problem with compassion. They also have more contact with their son or daughter.
This type of approach can also help a young adult child who lives far away. There will not be as much opportunity for interaction.
Trade your expectations for appreciation, and your whole world changes in an instant. ~ Tony Robbins
If you feel you are losing contact with your young adult child, here are four ways to reconnect:
1. Positive Phone Calls.
It is tempting to want to help your child change their substance use habits. It will prove more challenging if you don’t have regular contact with them. Your first task is to find ways to reconnect with your adult child positively.
Nagging, arguing, or lecturing will not get your child interested in talking with you. The goal at this point is to find ways to reconnect so your child. It will help if you both experience a positive, supportive call.
Understandably, you want to address the substance use issue. You can’t do that unless you have conversations where both parties are engaged
A starting point is having a more positive conversation with your child. You will have a higher chance of rekindling your relationship.
If you find that your child doesn’t respond to your calls, don’t bombard them with phone messages. Call them once or twice a week at the most. If they don’t pick up, you can choose to leave a message or not.
My experience has been that it can be helpful not to leave a message unless it is an emergency. Your child’s curiosity may prompt them to call you back. But don’t expect it to happen immediately.
2. Send a Text message.
Another approach is to send one positive text message a week. Don’t expect a response. These days, some young adults seem to prefer texting over talking on the phone.
Make your texts positive and brief, such as,
“I’m thinking about you. I hope you are having a good day. Love, Mom”
“Thought I would reach out. I love you, son. Dad.”
Again, don’t expect an immediate response depending on your child’s situation. You are trying to let your child know you are there for them when they are ready.
As time passes, if your child begins to trust that you only want to offer positive support, they may be more willing to reconnect with you.
Again, don’t bombard your child with texts. Don’t send a negative text if they don’t respond. Understandably, their silence is upsetting. Staying positive will give you a better chance that your child will be willing to text you back.
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3. Schedule a visit.
Seeing your child for yourself, so you know what kind of shape they are in, is always a good idea. You may not know where your child lives. Yet, if possible, a visit can sometimes be the turning point for your child.
I remember flying back to Colorado because I was concerned about my daughter. We were in contact, but not as often as I would have liked. During the visit, I finally understood what was going on with her drug use. That conversation was the beginning of change for her. She decided to take a flight home and address the issue.
Another mom I know flew out to see her son, who had been homeless for a couple of years in the Pacific Northwest. The worry and concern were getting to her. She had decided that the tough love approach wasn’t the answer. Because of that trip, she was able to bring her son home. He is continuing his recovery now a couple of years later.
Call or text your child and let them know you would like to come out for a visit. If you have some positive interactions, you will have more chances they will be open to seeing you.
Letting your child know how much they have hurt you may be tempting. That extra burden of knowing they’ve hurt you will not inspire them to want to get help.
Come from a place of compassion and concern for your child’s well-being.
4. Get your own needs met first.
In my interview with Tina Gilbert, author of Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, she discusses the importance of getting your own needs met.
“If you’re coming from a place of unmet needs, you won’t feel strong and good about yourself. From that place, you can’t deal with any relationship problem effectively.
Every harsh word, every unreturned phone call or email, will activate more self-criticism, shame, and misery.
If estrangement becomes entrenched, you will need inner resources to stay calm and centered for the long haul. Rewards may be few and far between for a long while.
Trying to survive this without having your emotional needs met is like trying to cross the desert without water. Not a good idea.”
If your adult child is struggling with drugs or alcohol, and your communication with them is limited, use the time to work on yourself
The good news is that most parent-child estrangement is usually temporary. Most people do recover from their substance use. But your young adult’s drug use is not something you want to take lightly. It is easy to get sucked into the negative cycle of the situation. It is more helpful to stay optimistic.
Find productive ways to communicate with your adult child. It will give you a better chance of reestablishing your connection with your child. That may motivate them to live a healthier lifestyle.
Know there is hope for your child.
What has been your experience with an estranged adult child?
This article was updated on July 28, 2022.
Access research-based resources to help you support your child in a kind, compassionate way, which can lead to change.
And consider getting access to my online course, Regain Your Hope, an online course that gives you an action plan to help your child. Know that your child can change.
Consider checking out my book, The Compassion Antidote: A Path to Change for You and Your Child Struggling with Addiction.
By: Cathy Taughinbaugh
Title: 4 Powerful Ways to Improve Communication With Your Adult Child
Sourced From: cathytaughinbaugh.com/4-powerful-ways-to-improve-communication-with-your-adult-child/
Published Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2023 15:01:30 +0000