April is Stress Awareness Month – Part 8

The 8 Stages of Estrangement
Looking at Both Sides of a Coin

From a Parent’s Perspective

Stage 7 | Fear

This stage involves non-estranged children. It is the fear and anticipation of potential estrangement from another child. After estrangement, fear clouds the relationship between a parent and the non-estranged child. This fear negatively influences parenting decisions. A parent will discipline the non-estranged child less frequently. A parent will adjust their communication for fear that something said will trigger the non-estranged child to estrange. Is the fear realistic? For a parent who has lost a valued relationship with one child – the fear is real – it is a perceived danger and potential threat. The risk of losing another family connection is constantly lurking in the subconscious. The relationship is fragile, and a parent wants to guard it to ensure it does not break. Respecting adult children and their choices is vital for a healthy relationship.

I fear that my other son will stop speaking to me too. I realize this is irrational, yet the thought sneaks into my mind every day. I find the fear paralyzing at times.

A parent’s perspective

Living and parenting with the fear of another estrangement is overwhelming. It is a difficult stage to endure, and learning to live day-by-day keeps worries at bay and is a worthy goal. As the non-estranged child matures, the fear of estrangement may dissipate based on their behaviors and communication. Furthermore, this fear extends to all future relationships as well. Remember this when meeting, introducing, and welcoming others.

Artist Credit: Silvia Pelissero, Agness Cecile’s World of Watercolor – Mayhem & Muse

From a Child’s Perspective

Stage 7 | Acceptance Part 2

Children at this stage have accepted estrangement as a way of life. They realize that time has passed, and they and the estranged parent have become different people. If the child has undergone therapy or is questioning their role in the estrangement, they may consider reconnecting. Children at this step are curious. They are interested to know whether what others tell them is true. They meet other people and begin to realize that every family is flawed. All families have struggles.

I wonder what my mother thinks of me. I wonder if she even cares. When I was growing up it seemed that she only cared about herself. I have done a lot of inward work and I might want to reach out one day and see how my mother is. But for now, I like my life just the way it is right now.

A child’s perspective

This stage requires the child to do the necessary emotional work that needs to be done. Children realize they are not the same people they were at the initial point of estrangement and recognize that their parents may have also grown and matured into a person they just might want to engage with. As maturation progresses, they may feel a void. They may have exasperated an issue. They begin to accept themselves for who they are and who they have become.

2 thoughts on “April is Stress Awareness Month – Part 8”

  1. Very insightful, Ruth. Your awareness is a bright light for others. Thank you for all your writing. You are sometimes else!!!


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