Fathers of estranged adult children: You’re not alone

fathers of estranged adult childrenby Sheri McGregor

As Father’s Day rolls around again, many of you fathers of estranged adult children are holding hurt inside. For fathers of estranged adult children, Father’s Day can be a time of embarrassment and pain—yet those feelings aren’t necessarily discussed, or acknowledged. Many fathers keep themselves busy and don’t share their pain. Some ask, “What’s the use of talking about something you can’t fix?” Others, as I’ve learned in my research, want to stay strong for their partner.

Among the men in my book to help parents who have been hurt by a son or daughter’s estrangement is a man who saw the estrangement coming. He tried to protect his wife from the pain he knew her daughter would inflict. Another hid his pain behind his anger. These men are not so different from many of you. They’re similar to my husband, who found it difficult to hear me express my pain over our son’s estrangement—-because it was something he was powerless to fix.

Fathers of estranged adult children, when you share, I’m listening. If you haven’t filled in the survey yet, I hope you will. In my book, I’ve included A Note To Fathers that you can read also here

Meanwhile, don’t suffer in the run-up to Father’s Day, feeling as if you’re all alone. Many more women talk regularly in the support forum here at the site than men, but there are a few who have occasionally joined discussions. Recently, one father welcomed another to the group. Below, is a small excerpt of what that father said:

“The pain that you are feeling right now is so intense, so deep, so gut wrenching …I know..just writing to you at the moment I feel the hurt rearing its ugly head. But when you are so down, just lift your head and try to feel that we are all here for you, that you are not alone in this misery, that the bad moment will pass, that you deserve to LIVE your life from today onwards with your head held up high because you were the best father you could have been, not the ‘perfect daddy’ that your daughter expected.”

Whether or not you join the discussion, do as the welcoming father said, and “lift your head.” Thousands of parents read through the pages of this website every month. You are far from alone.

When Father’s Day arrives, remember, it’s your day. If you need to stay in on Father’s Day, and avoid the reminders or the happy family crowds, then honor that need. Today’s streaming TV options can prevent the flow of family-centric commercials that remind you of loss and make you feel like the odd man out. If you have loyal sons and daughters, allow them to honor you as you wish—don’t agree to an outing if that’s not what you want to do. Take-out brings your favorite restaurant into your own home.

For more about Father’s Day for estranged adult children, read my article: What About Father’s Day for Fathers of Estranged Adult Children? That article also includes tips for the people who love fathers of estranged adult children on Father’s Day–so if you love a man, a father who is estranged from an adult children, perhaps you can help that father feel at ease.


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2 thoughts on “Fathers of estranged adult children: You’re not alone

  1. Trudy

    My son, age 34 stopped his relationship with his Dad a year and 1/2 ago. I am so hurt, because when the opportunity comes up to vist me in Pittsburgh my son won’t becasue his Dad is her. My granddaughter is 5 and grandson is 10 months. My granddaugher would love to visit us but has been told it is complicated. We want to see her but my son won;t let her because my son doesn’t want his Dad around her. Our son feel his Dad was not financially supportive of the family growing up and does not respect him as a provider. My sons is a father now and see what it takes to raise children and keep up a household. My sons does not
    want his Dad at his house or to even see the children in his home city. How do I cope with the pain my husband is feeling not to see his granddaughter yet alone meet his only grandson that I saw the week he was born and every few months since. The pai n is unbearable at times and makes me feel I need to fix this, but my sons contuinually tells me to STOP, and he is done!!! I am so hurt.

  2. Bob L.

    My now 17 yr old daughter is not very interested in coming to see me (her mother walked out on the marriage 5 yrs ago). The mother took my then 15 yr old son and 12 yr old daughter. My son seems OK witih things at this point (he’s incollege) but the daughter is very difficult; quiet and secretive with me. She never wants to eat at my house, wants nothing to drink,etc; I have asked every time to check, without much for positive results. The mother is not helpful to me, and most peole aware of this situation tell me it’s sounds like the mother’s fault. I still own and live in the house they were born into, while the mother has moved 3 times with them. I am thinking of selling teh house and moving, but feel that I would uproot their memories, so I’m loathe to do it. I just don’t know how to get my daughter into a more positive relationship with me.


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