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July 14, 2024

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HalMarch 1, 2022

This is painful for so many parents. While I think the advice given is good, I think maybe there is too much blame placed on the parents and we need to understand that the child bears some responsibility as well. Despite our continuous efforts to reach out to him, out oldest son cut us out of his life over ten years ago, but his younger brother and his family remain close to us. We also adopted two girls. Again, our oldest daughter rebelled against everything we tried to teach her. Her younger sister, however, embraced our family values and we have a wonderful relationship. Our two children who have distanced themselves from us love to use catch-phrases similar to "Toxic Positivity" to excuse their behavior. I'm sorry, but such phrases smack of "junk" psychology and seem to be a convenient way to avoid taking responsibility for one's own actions. Parents make mistakes, no doubt about that. However, I think we sometimes blame parents (and parents blame themselves) for ALL the problems in a family and forget that the children also play a huge role in family dynamics - especially as they grow to adulthood. The scriptures provide similar examples - Cain and Able, Esau and Jacob, Laman/Lemuel and Sam/Nephi/Jacob/Joseph. I'm sure Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah, Lehi and Sariah loved all their children but some choose to abandon their families and there's not much we can do about it except to continue to love them, pray for them, and keep reaching out to them. Beating ourselves up, however, will never make the relationship better.

MaryannFebruary 28, 2022

I really appreciate Brother Steurer's comments about allowing others to experience what they are really feeling, instead of trying to gloss it over. When someone immediately begins with "positive" preaching in these situations, I feel like the reality of my painful situation is being denied. Instead of trying to "fix" me, I just need to be understood and to feel someone's compassion for my unhappy feelings.

RosieBFebruary 28, 2022

Thank you for this thoughtful article. My sister has been having a horrible time dealing with the fact that her only son hasn't spoken to her for the past 2 years. She & I were raised in a family that practiced toxic positivity & gaslighting. We both became single mothers at age 18. It's difficult to change family patterns when you're in survival mode. Just being honest with my children, instead of defensive, has kept our communication open. I'm praying for healing for my sister & my nephew.

MicheleFebruary 25, 2022

I applaud the writer for reaching out to this wonderful resource. Geoff has such healthy advice. My daughter cut me off without much information; interactions were indeed painful. I chose to give her the space she clearly wanted, wrote her a letter of love and support. She eventually moved through it.

JimFebruary 25, 2022

Thank you for addressing this. I'm the father that had a temper at home, and have two sons that won't talk to me, despite repeated efforts to reach out to them. Both have withdrawn from other members of the family (including siblings and both parents - divorced now)

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