Thanksgiving for hurting parents of estranged adult children (part 2)

hurting parents of estranged adult childrenby Sheri McGregor, M.A.

In October, I posted about some different ways to think of Thanksgiving (to help Canadians who celebrated their Thanksgiving at that time). Readers from all over the world frequent the blog–and my aim is always to help with healing for the hurting parents of  estranged adult children.

Now that the U.S. holiday is near, give that post a read. Maybe you’ll agree that even as hurting parents of estranged adult children, Thanksgiving can be a time of harvest.

Below are a few other ideas and some more past articles for hurting parents of estranged adult children who might be spending the holiday alone or feeling isolated.

Time on your hands? Three ways to use those hours wisely.

Beat the crowds. Get a little holiday shopping completed early. Online deals abound even on Thanksgiving Day. has everything from gourmet food to health and beauty items, toys to tools, furniture to vitamins to gifts of every sort. Shop at Amazon

Take a nature walk at a state park. Many of the state parks host free admission on “green Friday” hurting parents of estranged adult childrenthe day after Thanksgiving. Check out your area’s parks to see if they’re participating, and spend Thanksgiving planning a take-along lunch. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a friend on a picnic on Friday, and get in a little nature time too?

Finish your holiday cards early–or just write letters. In these days of electronic cards and email, old fashioned paper greetings are getting rare. If you have time on your hands, turn on a TV marathon and write out some friendly notes. Your recipients will appreciate the extra care, and who knows? Maybe you’ll restart a tradition!

This year will be the first time I ever celebrated Thanksgiving at a restaurant. It’ll be a small party, and I am looking so forward to the varied buffet! Usually, I don’t mind cooking, but this year I felt the need to make a change. Do you? It’s okay to do things differently. Changing up does not mean you’ll never cook the meal again or you’re letting yourself or others down. There’s a saying I’ve come to believe: Change is good!

What ideas do you have for spending quiet time (Thanksgiving Day or any holiday) well? I hope you’ll help other hurting parents of estranged adult children by leaving a comment.

Also, don’t miss these past articles to help hurting parents of estranged adult children on Thanksgiving:

Giving Thanks–It’s the real reason for the holiday. And gratitude can help hurting parents of estranged adult children any day.

Help for hurting parents of estranged adult children for the holidays—How to manage them.

Hugs to everyone on Thanksgiving Day and every day.

Full disclosure, the link above is an affiliate link–that means if you use the link to shop, a small portion is earned to help fund this site.


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7 thoughts on “Thanksgiving for hurting parents of estranged adult children (part 2)

  1. SUSAN R.

    So, in the email I received from you your comment was: “Maybe you’re happy your pet loves to sit in your lap or that the leaves on the trees are a cheery red.”

    While I joined this site to learn how to manage the intense visceral pain from child estrangement, that comment insulted my intelligence. A dog sitting in my lap will never provide me the peace to understand what has turned my life inside out.

    We all deserve happiness, yes we do, but we need to understand why this generation is so easily manipulated in calling parents “toxic”. I recently joined a community Board and the majority of people on the Board are the same age as my children. They all seem to love and embrace me and enjoy the dialogue, but several of the Board members are estranged from their parents and call them toxic. That’s how my children refer to me. I have never shared with these young adults my personal situation for fear of how they would revise their view of me. I’m the same with them as I have been for my entire life – no personality change here.

    You want us all to move on and ignore our children. I can’t do that.. Can’t you use your contacts and skills to provide us with some insight? My mother was an awful person – she died at 89years old, and I took care of her until her last breathe, despite the fact she was toxic, horrible, and never thankful for anything. I did that out of respect. My children don’t feel the need to send me a Birthday Card. I don’t need to bare my soul here, but I know I am not alone in asking why and what are better ways to view and resolve these circumstances.

    1. rparents Post author

      Sorry to have disappointed you, Susan. If you were more familiar with my work, you night not be so disappointed. I do my best to help parents like me come to terms with the choices their adult children make.

      The comment about the pet was a simple example that might be part of a thank you list since a grateful attitude is so useful to a positive outlook. Many people find great comfort in their sweet pets.

      Thank you for your feedback. I hope you’re able to find what you seek, something “better” in your eyes.

      I wish you the best and am sorry your kids don’t have the love, care, and respect you showed your mother despite your negative opinion of her.

      Sheri McGregor

    2. candleinthewind

      Hello Susan R. I appreciate your response. I’m grateful for this site where we can disagree and do so with respect and courtesy; a means of communication which our adult estranged children have denied us. You hint at the shame and humiliation of admitting to being estranged, the fear of loss of respect and friendship. And the massive pain of loss. I go to bed most nights wishing not to wake up the next day. However, the next day comes. I woke up this morning with feelings of hatred. Charming, I thought. Cracking start to the day. So, I read comments from the website, including yours and Sheri’s to yours. I have to say that this place we are in as estranged parents means we have to reinvent ourselves, are we mothers, or aren’t we? – but practicing gratitude in my experience is one of the quickest and tablet-free anti-depressants out there. I am grateful for the pompoms on my cushion, for the light on my sewing machine, for the decent coffee I make, for the cookies that I’ve made to nibble with it, for countless tiny things, for the clouds in the sky, for the rainbow I saw yesterday, for red autumn leaves. The list goes on, for the volunteers at the Samaritans who volunteer to listen to my woes, for the volunteers who man my local radio station and introduce me to all kinds of new music which I find interesting….we are reduced to children unfortunately and have to resort to somewhat baby-ish and simple techniques and habits to recreate ourselves into something else. It’s humiliating and humbling. Along with which, we have to learn to deal with a lot of difficult and unpleasant emotions which may surface at any given moment. I am thankful for this site where we can air some of our troubles and are understood and not told to shut up, you’re too difficult to deal with.

    3. Sophia


      That’s not what Sheri advocates at all.

      What she examines in her books & posts is how estranged parents go to extremes to win back their adult children only to have it blow up in our faces.

      I find Sheri’s writing to be realistic & pragmatic, whereas other similar websites are all about feeling guilty.

      Read her books, also available in Audiobooks.

      These are helpful skills that can lead us out of misery & into a new journey.

      All the best to you.

  2. Linda B.

    We will spend the day with #1 son and granddaughter. #2 son has been estranged from his brother for many years. This has made holidays very difficult. Now he is estranged from us stating we favor #1 son. I still send Holiday and special occasion messages with no reply. I am agonizing this year about Christmas gifts. He said we could not have contact with 15 yo granddaughter, but I have been in contact with her. I want her to know we love her. There are many layers to this estrangement many related to his wife with mental illness. I continue to Pray for our family and give thanks so so many things in our lives

  3. Jan N.

    I’m divorced after 48 years, my kids refuse to get together with their own extended families, so I’ll be alone. It’s tough knowing the entire family fell apart for reasons I simply can’t understand. Two of my kids want nothing to do with any part of the family. One child allows me to see her on occasion. My heart breaks.

  4. Lisa

    Our son hasn’t spoken to us in 6 years. I always pray this may be the year we hear from him but it hasn’t happened yet. You have to have faith. I keep believing that some day he will come around again. I say lots of prayers for him and his family. I have sent many gifts and cards. I feel good doing it that is why I do it but I never expect anything in return. I know in my heart I’ve done the right thing. I am full of forgiveness whenever they do decide to reach out. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Keep the faith and celebrate in your own special way. We all deserve happiness and forgiveness. Stay well.


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