A Common Mistake of Estranged Parents: Focusing on What’s Fair

What I want all estranged parents to be oriented toward is that you have to think about what works in trying to reconcile with an estranged child, not what’s fair. With most of the families that I work with, it’s really unfair.

If it were really fair, the model would be the same model it would be with a best friend, spouse or somebody else–you talk about your perspective and he or she talks about theirs. You talk about how you felt hurt or misunderstood, your kid talks about how she or he feels hurt or misunderstood. You put your heads together and make sense of it, and you move on and get closer as a result. Once an estrangement is in place, it’s not going to go like that.

If it were fair, you’d get to make demands about how much time you could visit with your children or grandchildren. You could ask for more.

You could demand more empathy and forgiveness for whatever ways you made mistakes with your child growing up or mistakes you’ve made in their adulthood.  You could demand more commitment.

If it were fair, you would get credit for all the money you spent on your child and the time spent being the more dedicated parent than perhaps was the other parent.
If it were fair, you’d get credit for being as good of a parent as yours, or an even better parent than yours, and
for giving your child opportunities and experiences as a child and young adult that nobody ever gave you. If it were fair, you’d get credit for that!

If it were fair, your child would understand that when you say you did the best you could, you really mean you did the best you could and that people can only parent as well as they were given good role models, co- parents, or the financial and emotional resources to parent.

Focusing on what’s fair probably isn’t going to get you what you want. The goal is to focus on what works. And that’s what we’ll be discussing in this Tuesday’s free webinar, Sept 8th 530 PDT, 830 EST. Register here

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