How to keep Loving your Children when they don’t Love you

Sometimes adult children become emotionally disconnected from their parents, for reasons the parents may, or may not, understand. You may have angered, disappointed or displeased them in some way that you may be unaware. Or they may be so caught up in their own lives that they no longer have time for you.

Unrequited love hurts. When your own children appear to have stopped loving you, the pain can be unbearable. Adult children go through phases with their parents, just as they did when they were young. One day they are on the phone calling you for advice, empathy or reassurance and the next day they might let your call go to the answering machine, ignored.

In any event, the fact remains that you have to cope when your children have stopped loving you, and withdrawing your own love in retaliation is not an acceptable reaction.

How to keep loving your children when they don’t love you:

* Acceptance

Just as you unconditionally loved and accepted your child when he was a resistant toddler and belligerent teenager, continue to love him through this new phase of emotional distance. Accept him as he is; you cannot change him, but you can change yourself. Choose to accept this change in your relationship in a positive way, without sinking into despair, frustration or anger. Accept that the situation as “It is what it is,” and determine to move on with your own life, as difficult as that may seem.

* Don’t appear needy

When your child appears not to care, don’t push him further away by being needy or clingy. Go on with your life in an independent way. Nurture your own friendships, build an active social circle, join a health club or take classes to learn new things. Keep busy living your own full life, and refrain from making the lack of contact with your child a focal point in your thoughts and actions.

* Find others to fill the void

One of the highlights of being a parent is the sense of being needed. If your child does not need you anymore, there might be many others that do. Volunteer your time at a homeless shelter, a nursing home or some other venue where your presence might make a significant difference to another human being. Adopt a child through World Vision, or some other charitable organization dedicated to making the world better for children from third world countries. Reach out, and give your love to others who want and need it.

Don’t spend your time in admonishment and self-recrimination over what you might have done better with your child. Be confident in the knowledge that you did the best you could do, with the knowledge, experience and resources you had at the time you were raising your child.

Keep the love light burning brightly in your heart for your child, but don’t allow it to consume your every waking moment. Be at peace, knowing that if your child has a change of heart and comes to you, he will be welcomed with open arms, but in the meantime, embrace all the goodness life has to offer and practice joyful living.

“Children start out loving their parents, as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.” (Oscar Wilde)

“When children are small, they step on your feet; when they are big, they step on your heart.” (anonymous)