5 Signs It's Safe To Reconnect With A Parent You've Distanced Yourself From

Distancing yourself from those you love is never easy.

Woman deciding if its safe to reconnect with a parent that is estranged Prostock-studio | Canva

Healing from the effects of childhood emotional neglect or abuse is a long journey. Often, the journey requires distance from the parent or family member who was a source of the problem. In time, through self-reflection, social support, therapy, or various other means, the adult child who distanced themselves for the good of their healing journey wonders if it is OK to reconnect and try to rebuild a relationship with the estranged parent or family member.


Here's a sign it's safe to reconnect with a parent you've distanced yourself from, according to YourTango experts:

1. There's observable change in their behavior

A key sign that it might be safe to reconnect with a parent is an observable change in their behavior. Are they taking responsibility for past mistakes? Is there tangible evidence of improvement? For example, they might begin to engage positively with family members, such as paying more attention to their grandchildren, or they might acknowledge and take active steps to address personal issues, such as substance abuse. These changes suggest they are making sincere efforts to alter their behavior, which can be a foundational step toward rebuilding trust.


Erika Jordan, Dating Coach / NLP Practitioner

RELATED: How To Untangle Unhealthy Family Dynamics — Without Cutting Anyone Out

2. Your therapist approves

You might go a year without speaking to each other and then slowly start to introduce a healthy relationship in which you feel safe and respected.


Once you’ve taken the initiative to essentially cut this person off, you're going to feel a wave of emotions. These emotions will likely include guilt, sorrow, anger, and maybe even regret. It's normal!

You can benefit from talking to a therapist in situations like this, especially if you're finding these feelings to be overwhelming. They will help you to work through the transition of no longer speaking to your family members. The therapist can also help you decide when and if to let the family member back into your life.

Lindsey Matthews, Journalist

RELATED: 5 Common Reasons An Adult Child May Become Estranged From Their Parent, According To Experts


3. You are secure

It's safe when you feel secure in your own life and not dependent on your parents' approval, kindness, or understanding.

Larry Michel, The Love Shepherd

Elederly couple distraught, these are the parents you've distanced yourself from Pormezz via Shutterstock

4. You can trust they've changed

I'm going to answer this oppositely. Many parents go into a 12-step program or into anger management classes strictly to repair their family relationships. However, few of them stay in the program long enough before reaching out and asking for reconnection it can take up to 10 years for someone to become clean and sober and work the 12 steps enough to be trusted not to either fall into addiction, behaviors or fall into the depression or rage of addiction. Therefore, I always advise people to wait a long time before reconnecting and track the progress in real-time of their relative's recovery.


Susan Allan, Life Coach and Founder The Marriage Forum Inc.

RELATED: The Family Scapegoat: The Role You Were Assigned, But Never Asked For

@huffpost Months turned into years and during this time I rebuilt myself and my self-esteem from the ground up. I grieved the loss of the parents I wished I’d had and knew I deserved. I learned to give the love I used to give away to others — desperately yearning for them to return that love — to myself. Look out for Part 2. #RealTalk #Parenting #ImmigrantParents #FamilyTherapy #HuffPostPersonal #Storytime ♬ original sound - HuffPost

5. They've apologized

A sincere apology from parents often goes a long way with children. If the parent realizes they are part of the problem and wish to make amends, many adult children may choose to resume their relationship on a new, more mentally healthful basis.


Dr. Gloria Brame, Therapist and author

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Don't forget, there were clear reasons for distancing from a parent. The health and well-being of the individuals who cut themselves off from the relationship took precedence. Their healing journey necessitated the distancing. They are the ones to decide if and when the time will come to reconnect. If the estranged parent wonders how to facilitate this process, they need only to look within. Starting their healing journey to change is a significant contributor to lessening the distance.

@casually_mental Big hugs to anyone with an estranged family member or thinking about reconnecting with them, we see you. ❤️‍🔥🤗 tap the link in our bio to listen to the rest of the episode!! #casuallymental #familymemes #selfgrowthjourney #overheard ♬ original sound - casually mental podcast 🤘

Parents, do the work of self-discovery and healing, get help, be committed to change, and apologize. For those who have distanced themselves, you are the only one who knows when the time is right.

RELATED: This Is What Happens When Someone Cuts You Out Of Their Life

Will Curtis is a writer and editor for YourTango. He's been featured on the Good Men Project and taught English abroad for ten years.