Joshua Coleman: Family Estrangement and Today’s Parent-Adult Child Relationships | All Together #2

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Joshua Coleman, a psychologist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Do you feel like your adult children are cutting you off? For a variety of reasons, adult children distance themselves from their parents, and in this podcast episode, Joshua Coleman talks about family estrangement, ways to recover, and how to deal with your children properly.

Meet Joshua Coleman

Joshua is a psychologist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and a Senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-partisan organization of leading sociologists, historians, psychologists, and demographers dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best practice findings about American families. 

He is the author of numerous articles and chapters and has written four books: The Rules of Estrangement (Random House); The Marriage Makeover: Finding Happiness in Imperfect Harmony (St. Martin’s Press); The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework (St. Martin’s Press); and When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along (HarperCollins). 

Joshua has also written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, NBC THINK, The Behavioral Scientist, CNN, MarketWatch, the San Francisco Chronicle, Greater Good Magazine, AEON, Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Variety, and more. 

Additionally, Joshua has given talks to the faculties at Harvard, the Weill Cornell Department of Psychiatry, and other academic institutions.

About the episode

The episode started when Joshua shared some personal information about himself. He defined family estrangement as a serious break in a relationship between parent and child. Cutting off contact and communication is one of the most common ways used to distance themselves from one another.

According to Joshua, sometimes parents are unaware of the anxiety that adult children experience when their parents make them feel guilty about their happiness. He suggested that for those parents and children who have recently gotten into a miscommunication, it’s best to deal first with the conflict, and two-way communication must be done to address the issues. He also suggested that parents and children should discuss what boundaries should not be crossed to protect the mental health of the individuals.

In conclusion

While the situations that drive individuals to distance themselves are painful and traumatic, the estrangement process itself is also challenging. There are many causes of estrangements between parents and children, but with proper communication and due diligence, these problems can be prevented and can strengthen their relationship.

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