For millions of Americans, Mother's Day was not a joyful event. Just before the holiday, I was in Ljubljana, Slovenia, talking with addicts, some of whom have ruined their relationships with their children. We talked about what, if anything, they could do to rebuild those relationships. When I left that group, I thought of my own tattered relationship with my mother. Many mothers waited for cards that never came. That can change next year.
There are all sorts of reasons why parent-child relationships fall into disrepair, yet reunion is possible. Children, by their nature, want to love their parents. That longing never leaves. If you are someone who has destroyed your relationship with your child(ren), here are some actions you can take to try to rebuild those bonds.
- Apologize. If you did something wrong, own it. As I said to the addicts in Slovenia, amends is a process. We say, "I'm sorry." "What can I do, if anything, to set right the wrong I did?" "It won't happen again." Then you have to live up to that and keep living it without expectation that your child's feelings will change. The timetable for that change is not in your hands. Those you have hurt will release their pain more slowly than you will want their forgiveness. Take responsibility for your actions; let your expectations go and do right anyway.
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