How to Rebuild a Relationship with an Estranged Parent

It’s not easy but you can do it

Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash
  • Compromise— You might have an ideal image of what you want your parent to be and act like in this new chapter. But we can’t be everything for each other so practice some compromise around your expectations. I can’t always expect my mom to get my perspective but we do laugh together now and can create humor out of tough conversations like her new love life as a widow.
  • Humor — Find humor in the serious and not-so-serious talks you have. Comedy can go a long way in healing and connecting.
  • Forgiveness — You might find you get triggered by your parent still and that’s okay. My mom still triggers me but it’s more an opportunity for me to practice forgiveness but also let her know she upset me.
  • Boundaries — Rebuilding a relationship doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat and not assert your boundaries. If something upset you in the conversation voice it from a non-reactive place. I know, easier said than done but you will feel so much more empowered for saying something versus saying nothing.
  • Vulnerability — Part of rebuilding a relationship is getting vulnerable with each other. Can you practice sharing your honest feelings about the past and what you would like moving forward? When my mom and I reconnected, I honestly told her it would take time for me to trust her again with my feelings and to feel safe. Vulnerability asks you to move out of ego and into your heart. Practice talking from your heart and see how this exercise shifts the relationship.

Self-help & mental health writer. Can't do small talk. Mama. Yogi. Coffee lover. Nature explorer. Get my free meditation mini-course here:

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