Grown Children Who Ignore Their Parents: 7 Tips to Deal

Estrangement happens to parents around the world. For various reasons, adult children ignore their parents and cut off contact completely. This article will provide professional advice for parents who are experiencing problems with their grown-up children.

Most parents at some point in their lives come into contact with a situation when their grown children refuse to answer phone calls, don’t visit them when they’re ill, and generally ignore the parent’s existence.

In order to cope with adult children who ignore you–their parents–it is important for you to identify when exactly your child has started ignoring you.  

If this behavior emerged only recently, then there has probably been a trigger in his life that made him react this way to a person he once cared about.

If you consider this situation carefully, perhaps together with your spouse or other family members who know your child well, you will most likely manage to figure out the reason.  

Once identified, the simplest solution would be simply to talk to him and find out what’s wrong.

If however, this change of attitude occurred some time ago (we’re talking about months or even years), then there is probably a deeper reason behind it.

In some cases, despite the fact your adult child ignores you, he still cares about you very much. He just can’t show it in front of other people because of the role he has chosen to assume in his life.

For example, he might have become an independent person who values his freedom and privacy, so he doesn’t want everybody to know about his family ties. This situation often develops because of parental mistakes which made their children lose trust in them or simply hurt them too much.  

If this is your case, then the only thing left for you is to try again and find a way to reestablish the relationship.  

The most important thing is not to take it personally and try not to blame yourselves for everything that’s happening.

Instead, you should calmly talk with your child about what went wrong in your relationship with your adult child and apologize sincerely for what happened between you two.

It’s important to show him how much you regret the past decisions which led to estrangement, so he can see how serious you are about fixing this problem. Once this happens, chances are that your grown-up children will finally forgive you and start communicating normally.

If however there isn’t any sign of hope that things will change anytime soon, then please don’t be afraid to contact professional help.

For now, you can look at signs when your grown children are indeed ignoring you.

Important: Remember that estrangement from your grown-up child isn’t irreparable as you might think. The sooner you take action and start trying different methods of communication, the higher are your chances of reestablishing an emotional link yourselves.

Signs Your Grown Children Are Ignoring You

grown children who ignore their parents

If you notice any of the following signs from your grown children, it’s a clear sign that they’re ignoring you:

  • They don’t invite you to important events in their lives anymore
  • don’t wish you a happy birthday or other holidays anymore
  • They no longer visit you when they’re sick and need help
  • When they refuse to visit or talk on the phone;
  • When they tell you they’re busy when you ask them out for dinner;
  • They read letters and cards sent to them, but don’t answer back.  

Once again, if any of the signs has just started happening recently, then perhaps your adult son or daughter is going through some difficulties in life. The best thing you can do for them at such times simply lends an ear and provide emotional support.  

As soon as these hard times are over though, it would be much better if you both sit down and talk things out like two mature people who care about each other.

If on the other hand, this has been happening for a longer period of time (six months or more), then perhaps your grown-up children are trying to distance themselves from you.

If this is the case, they might be doing it because they don’t want to appear vulnerable in front of others. They rather do anything than show feelings of love or even simple respect towards their parents.

As mentioned before though, this behavior is not irreversible if the right approach is used.

It’s important to understand that communicating with your adult son or daughter won’t be easy and it’s completely understandable if you feel angry or depressed during these times.

Why Grown Children Ignore Their Parents?

There are different reasons why grown-up children ignore their parents.  In some cases, it’s because they don’t want to hurt them by telling the truth.

In this case, if your son or daughter doesn’t want to contact you at all, there is probably a deeper underlying problem.

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It takes a lot of emotional maturity and courage for an adult child to talk openly about problems that concern his family members.

If your adult child is still immature and cannot cope with such difficult situations on his own, he most likely doesn’t want to tell you about his problems because he is afraid of losing your trust and respect.

Another possible reason why grown-up children ignore their parents is that they’re trying to punish them for something that happened previously.

For this reason, it’s important not to hurt adult children by talking badly about them behind their backs no matter how small the situation may seem.

If the reasons behind estrangement are more serious, then your grown-up child might have decided to keep away from you because he’s in some kind of trouble.

Either way, it takes courage for an adult child to tell his parents about whatever is making him so upset.

If your adult child refuses to talk with you about whatever problems he might have, then try having a serious conversation with him when nobody else is around.

You can do this by telling him how much you love him and that you’d sacrifice anything just to see him smile again.

This way your son or daughter will understand that there’s somebody who cares about them unconditionally, even if they’ve made mistakes in the past.

Just remember that once somebody passes a certain age, he is an adult and should therefore be able to take responsibility for his life.

7 Tips for Coping With Grown Children Who Ignore You

how to handle grown children who ignore their parents

It’s very common for estranged parents not to know what steps they should take when it comes to getting back in touch with their children.

After all, over the years your relationship might have turned sour and there’s no quick fix solution. However, if you want your grown children back in your life, then try following these 7 most effective tips:

#1. Accept That There Is Nothing You Can Do About Their Situation

If somebody doesn’t want anything to do with you, then it doesn’t matter how much you try to convince them otherwise because this will only backfire.

Even if you offer your child money or even the extreme one such as calling the police, nothing will force him to talk with you.

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If this is your first time dealing with an estranged family member, then remember that a lack of communication can sometimes take months or even years to recover.

#2. Set Some Rules With Your Spouse

Although it’s important for parents and grown-ups to have their own lives, disagreeing with your spouse about how to handle an adult child is expected.

It might be hard for both of you to come up with a solution as to what’s best for everybody involved, but at least try not to talk about the problem in public.

#3. Don’t Give Up

It’s true that some parents have been trying to fix a broken relationship for a long time only to see their efforts fail. But this doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel too early.

Even if your grown-up child has no desire of talking with you, there are many other ways to make him change his mind. Or simply, just give them time.

#4. Try Asking Your Kids About Their Ongoing Situation

If you really want to get back in touch with your estranged family member, then try asking your other children for help.

It might be hard for them to talk about someone they used to love with somebody who’s not on good terms with them.

But it’ll crush them completely if they learn later on that you knew all along that they were struggling with their sibling.

If you notice that your child wants to talk about his situation, then listen carefully without interrupting him.

#5. Understand That Not Everyone Can Get Along

When it comes to getting back in touch with estranged family members, some parents naively think that just because they try their hardest, everything will be alright. 

As we’ve mentioned above, not every problem is solvable and if somebody doesn’t want to rekindle a damaged relationship, then there’s no way of forcing them to do so.

#6. Don’t Try Taking Responsibility for Your Child’s Actions

Even though you might feel guilty about the fact that your children aren’t talking to you anymore, understand that some people–even your own kid–may not get along well with you.

If you’ve tried your best to repair the relationship but your adult child decides to stay away, there is nothing more you can do and you cannot be held guilty.

#7. Think About What You Want to Accomplish With an Outreach

If you really want to rekindle a broken relationship with your adult children, then try thinking about your end goal. 

Is it possible that your child is closing himself off from everyone in his life? Maybe talking with him and finding out what he wants from life could help? 

On the other hand, maybe he isn’t interested in meeting up at all because he thinks you have nothing to offer him? 

In any case, remember that although it might be hard for everybody involved, you’ll never find a solution if you don’t talk to your child and find out what’s best for him.

Conclusion

Parents who experience estrangement from their children should know that not everybody can get along well. If you are willing, as parents you can try to initiate communication and set up family events.

But when your grown child refuses to take any invitation from you and does not pick up phone calls, maybe it is best for both of you to stay apart for a while, but never cut ties.

It is better when you keep an open mind, so whenever your grown children who once ignore you coming back, you can be the first to greet him with open arms.