Q&A: Mending relationship with my estranged daughter

Q: I’m estranged from my adult daughter. I definitely wasn’t the best father, although I’ve changed for the better in recent years. But I haven’t spoken to her since she was seventeen; she’s thirty-five now. I’d love for our relationship to be rekindled, but I don’t know if I should reach out or wait for her to show interest in me.

A: Our heart goes out to both of you; we expect that there have been many things over the years that have led to this difficult situation. It’s good to know that you, at least, have been able to make some positive improvements.

Most children, no matter how young or old they are, naturally think of their mum and dad as the “grownup” in the relationship. So unless there’s some kind of extenuating circumstance, take the lead. Reach out to your daughter and initiate contact. Show your interest in her. A little humility will go a long way.

Just as important, be willing to persevere. You can’t give up inviting your daughter into your life at the first sign of adversity. Respect the fact that your history together may not be entirely positive. Allow her some space for doubt or for old wounds that haven’t been resolved yet.

And take heart. Son or daughter, fifteen or fifty – deep inside, every child longs to reconcile with their father or mother. Some children are always open and ready while others may be angry or still distrust you in some way. Even if they’re motivated to reconnect, it may take a bit of a journey for their hearts to soften. Just keep your heart open and keep taking the lead.

Our staff at Family Support Services would be happy to help if you’d like to discuss this matter further. Feel free to call them at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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