by Sheri McGregor, M.A.
Parents of estranged adult children: Are you dreading the holidays?
Many of you describe the season ahead as difficult. As a time when traditions make you feel empty and sad. You say that seeing other families with all their joy will only highlight your own painful loss. You consider the holidays as a season to get through, lonely, and feeling blue.
I understand. Just as so very many parents of estranged adults do.
Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. You have the power to make something good of the days ahead. For your own sake, let me show you how to shift your perspective now, and join me as we move ahead with a positive focus.
Starting the New Year early: A powerful plan for parents of estranged adults
Parents of estranged adult children and the holidays. One way to cope is to change perspective.
The New Year brings hopeful ideas, energy for change, a fresh new calendar, and the power of synergy as millions make plans to improve their lives. Instead of dreading the holidays, shift your thinking to embrace possibility.
This year, make today the start of your brand new year.
My new year starts now.
Say the words. Believe them. Get started now for good days ahead. Say it again: My New Year starts now.
Get started on forward momentum now. Don’t spend your days in dread. Plan useful pursuits and aim for activities that help you. Make new traditions, too.
Don’t emphasize your pain and sadness by telling yourself how awful the holidays will be. If you do, you’ll be a lot like the Grinch in the Jim Carrey movie, whose calendar makes him feel especially bad. (Watch the video! You’ll laugh!)
A season of extra time.
For some parents of estranged adults, getting caught up in the hustle and bustle feels good. Doting on the people they love, and who remain close helps them forget the estranged son or daughter who won’t be home for the holidays.
But for estranged parents who dread the days ahead, the holiday season can provide the gift of extra time to try new things. While the whole word is on the fast train, move at your own pace—and see the joy in it.
While the malls are full, the hiking trails aren’t. Can you find specials on tours and travel? You might even meet new people during travels at this time—some who are at loose ends family-wise, like you. What if you were alone for some other reason? A retired military officer told me she was once stationed overseas. All alone for the holidays, she used the time to take tours in her exotic locations, and learn the history of interesting sites.
Get started on a home renovation project, clear your clutter, or learn to knit. Take horseback riding lessons, an ice skating class, or learn to make your own beer. Try tennis lessons, take up Karate, or even learn to surf. Taking lessons now may be a gift to an independent teacher with open slots to fill—regular students take time off for the holidays.
Make some new fun.
Do something new that you’ve always wanted to do. Start your gratitude journal, your reuse and recycle campaign, or your healthier lifestyle today (you’ll be that much farther ahead on January 1st).
Start fresh now.
Maybe it has become cliché, but even for parents whose children are estranged, the saying is true: Today really is the first day of the rest of your life. Try reading the words aloud: Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Viewed like that, your life is a blank canvas. Paint it how you choose.
Won’t you join me, and millions of parents, as we set our sights on bright, shiny, joyful days ahead? The more of us get started now, the more synergy we’ll create. Make a comment below, and become part of the New Year Now movement. Share your great ideas and success to benefit yourself and other parents of estranged adults. Start your new New Year—now.
Parents of estranged adults, reinvent yourself
When adult children reject children: Giving thanks
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