No one expects their adult children to wash their hands of their parents, breaking all contact as if they never existed. How to make sense and move on from this very unfortunate situation.
I was given a copy of the book, Done With The Crying by Sheri McGregor, M.A., to read and write a review. The opinions that follow are my own.
When I was asked to read and review, Done With Crying, I have to admit that I was not familiar with the situation of where adult children will just out of the blue announce that they are through with their parents and don’t want any future contact with them. Apparently, this occurrence isn’t by children who were abused, abandoned, or shunned. It is done by children who for the most part, had been nurtured and loved their entire life by devoted parents.
My first reaction was, “Who would do this?” Apparently, according to the book, there are enough estranged adult children to make this a real issue that leave parents, especially mothers, distraught, confused, and lost.
What gives this book credibility is that the author, Sheri McGregor, knows firsthand about this situation: her adult son rejected her, her husband, and his four siblings, when he was in his twenties. It was devastating for all of them but especially for Sheri—the one who gave birth and her unconditional love and attention in raising her son. As she writes in the introduction, “I’m a loving parent like you. A mother who knows the pain of an adult child’s estrangement—the horrible shock that wrings you dry, triggers denial, blame, and even shame.”
In Done With Crying, McGregor has turned what she has learned and endured through this ordeal into a self-help book for other mothers who find themselves in this situation. She shares what she has researched, numerous interviews with mothers of estranged adult children, and her own experiences to provide ways to cope with the present and move on to a more productive future.
The book is also a workbook for the reader, giving concrete steps to journal, reflect, and create action steps to put the information to immediate use. This is the part I found especially valuable. It is one thing to read about the situation you are in and be told what can be done. How much more effective to be challenged to face real feelings and develop an individualized plan to meet those challenges head on.
Not only does McGregor encourage the reader to write down their thoughts as they go through the various exercises, she also suggests they read their responses out loud to stimulate the areas of the brain associated with language and speech, deactivating the areas of the brain associated with pain.
I found the book to well organized and very supportive of parents who are dealing with estranged adult children. It begins with explaining the situation and coming to terms with it, how to find support, and then best of all, how to move forward for a more productive and resilient life. While mothers and fathers will never be able to forget their children who consciously decided to leave them, McGregor gives parents hope for being able to move on and not be held emotional prisoners for the rest of their lives. Her final advice to the readers of her book, after they have faced their dilemma head on and have reflected in the workbook pages, is to “Look forward…let go of the bad and leave it behind…Reach for your life. Embrace it. There is sunlight ahead.”
That’s great encouragement not only for parents of estranged adult children but for anyone going through difficult trials in their life.
For more information about dealing with estranged adult children and Sheri McGregor’s work, visit her website.