Anyone who finds themselves unjustifiably estranged from a family member, yearn to be reunited. It is what we all think about everyday, that moment when we can hug those special people who have been missing from our lives, in many cases for years.
There is an important question that needs to be thought about and openly discussed.
How do I become a Dad/Mum or grandparent to someone who has become a stranger?
Anyone who is waiting for that day of reconciliation, no doubt will not even have thought about the, ‘How To?’
It is the most natural thing in the world, isn’t it?
For some it will perhaps come easily, for others it might be a different story.
I have blogged about this before, but as time has gone on it is something that I have given a great deal of thought to, it is a continuing journey.
As parents we learn on the job, from the day we bring home that tiny bundle of joy,we start the journey of getting to know each other. We learn about their needs, we learn about our role in their lives, but if you have been apart from that precious person for many years, you haven’t grown up with each other, you don’t know their needs and you are unsure of your responsibilities or for that matter they don’t understand yours.
It is possible that the last time you had contact with your family member they were very young, but they are now adults, So much time has past, so many things will have happened in both your lives,we are in fact different people.
Our values that we were brought up with, will probably not be the same as theirs.
What do these young adults want us to be?
It seems obvious to ask them, but that is also not that easy.
When you are reunited you are walking on eggshells, you are careful what you say, you are so afraid that you are going to do or say the wrong thing and they will walk away.
It is right to be led by the children, to be guided by them but what is needed is that open and frank discussion with them as to how to move forward in forging a brand new relationship.
Absolutely not being disrespectful in any way to their other parent, that has to be a no go area.
The focus must be about, gently building up trust between each other, it has to come from both parties, it is the only way a healthy, caring relationship can be reinstated.
The fear of being rejected again for you both is very real.
Of course when you start any new relationship,you are on your best behaviour you want so badly for the other person to like you, the danger is they are not seeing the real you, it is your public face, that facade that we all possess that they see.
Underneath all of that facade is the real us.
Remember that it is not just you who may be struggling with this new situation, everyone within the family are feeling it to.
Those of us of a certain age and who have been through the mill of life, hopefully have learnt a thing or two, and we know that relationships have to be worked on, a relationship has to have two people wanting that relationship and are willing to work hard and to learn to compromise with each other.
There will be no success if it is one sided.
It is easy to try to ‘buy’ your way back into a relationship, showering them with presents, money etc, but that will be short lived, a true loving relationship will never succeed with the materialistic things of life.
If you feel that the relationship is faltering, talk about it, tell each other how you are feeling if you don’t communicate how are you supposed to know how you are both feeling?
When you are trying to work your way through this minefield, keep telling them you love them,keep that door open of course if they are now young adults it will be up to them to make that decision as to whether they walk through that door. We can’t force this new relationship on them, they have to want it and they also need to understand that they hold the key.
Any relationship is built on wanting to know everything about the other person, the good bits and the not so good bits, wanting to learn about how their lives have been whilst you have been apart, The things that make them happy and the things that break their hearts.
It is not all about you or them, it is about the two of you.