New Year NOW

Holidays estranged adult child
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.

Related articles–

Holidays: How to manage them

Parents of estranged adults, reinvent yourself

When adult children reject children: Giving thanks

New Year’s resolution

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12 thoughts on “New Year NOW

  1. kindy

    When the holidays are nearing now it means nothing to me any more except for an opportunity to be extra special to myself and husband. There are no trees or even decorations. There is no excitement of buying gifts and making the home a cozy place for everyone else. It took me quite a few torturous years to figure this out.. One year we went to Florida like it wasnt even Christmas. We survived without celebrating. So from that point on we put the past behind us and try to think only of the good things to come before our lives are over. I dont want to look back from my wheel chair and feel ashamed of wasting the last 20 yrs of my life causing my own misery. Children are important and I pray for them “Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do”. I will move on and choose the people I WANT in my life. If a friend ever treated me this way I would have written them off yrs ago. We give our children too many chances and they still think that their behavior is ok. Once i got realistic and stopped covering and making excuses for my daughter i realized that she has pretty much been abusive to us her whole childhood. I dont need to accept that in her adulthood. If she is capable og causing this much agony without a care in the world I choose to not have her in my life. Maybe if she came begging but i will NEVER trust her with my heart again. She is who she is and I am who i am. It is what it is. Shes not God!!!!!!!

  2. rparents Post author


    Good line you said about not wanting to look back from your wheelchair about wasting your life. I’m happy for you and your husband, that you’re not tormenting yourselves. And it gets at the point of the New Year Now — on any day you decide and start.

    Thank you for your comment.

    Sheri McGregor, M.A.

  3. dee

    Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Just so DAMN glad I found this website today. That’s a lot to be thankful for!

  4. Karin

    This will be our first holiday season of estrangement from our middle daughter and her family, including our 2 year old granddaughter. Thank you for the timely advice. May I ask if there is any support here for siblings? Our estranged daughter has also chosen to push her younger sister out of her life for challenging her memories of an “abusive” childhood, and our younger daughter is struggling right along with us through this horrible experience.

  5. Lynne

    It’s very helpful to read these posts. It’s not only the loss of my estranged son but the grandchildren as well. I wish there was a support group I could join to help me. I feel like a cloud is over my head.

  6. TetburyCastle

    Twenty years ago – our 1st estrangement – my husband and I found ourselves alone on Thanksgiving. It was a very depressing time – family issues with siblings; our youngest daughter was with her biological dad for the holiday, etc. So, just the two of us, we decided to go out to a posh restaurant and afterwards watch a popular celebrated lighting ceremony. It was okay, it wasn’t like being with family, but it was okay.

    The next year we decided to do it again but this time our youngest daughter was with us. The following year my sister and her husband came with us.

    Twenty years later, what started as a lonely, feeling isolated, nowhere-to-go holiday, it is now our Thanksgiving tradition we look forward to every year. We also get up early do a popular 5K Thanksgiving run. We have since been invited to family Thanksgivings and by friends over the years but we always opt out for our posh restaurant. We invite anyone who might be on their own to come with us. Our youngest daughter now considers it tradition and wouldn’t have it any other way. Even when we were living in Singapore, we always came back to the states for our Thanksgiving holiday.

    You’re absolutely right Sheri, one can create new traditions. It might feel awkward at first but who says your holidays have to be like everyone else’s.

    1. rparents Post author

      TetburyCastle! I love that you shared this, and I love IT. What a wonderful demonstration of how a tradition can be formed. Even from something lonely and sad, beauty and joy can grow. And this year as I sit with the same big toe that was broken several years ago broken again, your tradition sounds very relaxing. Can I join you? (Just kidding, but kind of not kidding either!) — Sheri McGregor

  7. TetburyCastle

    Wish you could join us too Sheri. Wish anyone and everyone could join us at our “posh” restaurant. Imagine . . . a group of loving caring parents, knowing we’re all among friends, sharing a holiday together. I bet, at least for one day, the loneliness and isolation holidays sometimes bring would be totally gone.

  8. Bev

    This a a wonderful website. Thank you. Our daughter is considered to be a beautiful person but not to us. I am not certain about all the dynamics but after experiencing enstrangement and reading the many comments, I truly believe this is a psychological condition. I do not know the roots of this problem . I have spent years trying to analyze and understand. Certainly a study should be done to determine whether there are common family or personality traits. It was interesting that the comments I read were not angry but acceptance. I think we must reach this point after we have tried everything. It is a terrible loss. We are snowbirds and enjoy getting away from our home town . We have been able to still see our grandchildren from time to time, but that time together is somewhat guarded .

  9. Pheonix

    I love this, you’ve given me a bash of positive energy.
    Thank you
    Health and happiness in 2016


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