August 17

So Your Child Isn’t Responding


Many of the parents who have suffered from a significant cutoff from their child stop getting responses back from their child. Not surprising, and yet not the end-all-be-all, either.

Our rule of thumb is to continue to show up-- because without doing so, there is little to no chance of reunification. Unfortunately, it is extremely unlikely that your child will just 'come around someday' on their own. In these situations it's more of 'out of sight, out of mind' rather than 'distance makes the heart grow fonder.' After all, even if your child had an onset urge to want to repair the relationship, they are far less likely to initiate any contact when there has been a significant time period apart, nor if they realized you haven't been contacting at all, either. You are the parent, after all...

So, where do you go from here? 

1. Identify the core issue.

The issue isn't that they aren't responding, it's deeper than that. You may know why, or you may have your thoughts as to why. Identify where it stems from to address the root cause, and get the support you need to resolve the root cause. For example, if the root cause is that the other parent started withholding custody and has led to a full cutoff, do what you can to take proactive action in court for the contempt and denial of time. Simultaneously work towards rebuilding the relationship with your child.

2. Show up anyway.

While you work on the root issue, continue to show up for your child. What does that mean? Showing up is making sure that you are not neglecting your role as parent. It means making sure your child knows you are there for them, no matter what. That you love them unconditionally. Show up in the ways that you are able. If those are far and few, keep figuring out ways to do so. There is always a way. 

3. Find the balance.

Showing up doesn't mean blowing up their phone. It means being frequent and consistent but not bombarding them, either. It doesn't mean sending gifts each week. That could send a message of trying to buy their love, when the purpose is to simply want to express your parental love in multiple ways. Keep it simple and to the point: to fill your child's cup with unconditional love. 

4. Critique how you show up.

It's one thing to show up, great! It's another to show up in an unconscious light. If you're only messaging or writing with guilt or pressure-inducing thoughts, that will keep your child at bay. Put a moratorium on the past, keep it light, about them only, and a simple sign off. You may want to take a look into the pattern of your communication and see where you can shift!

5. Revisit expectations and intentions.

Don't show up with solely the expectation of a response, again that isn't the main issue. Of course you want them to respond, but shift this into what your intention is. Your intention should be to repair the relationship, then the responding will follow. It will end up causing frustration ad resentment onto the child. Instead, the intention should be you want to make sure they know their parent loves them, and release expectations. 

6. Identify what you want & always take proactive action.

It's way harder to just say "I am going to start saving [money]" than it is to set an actual savings goal. This is because when we have a tangible (or visual) goal of something that is clear and concise, we are far more likely to take the steps necessary to achieve it. In turn, you will start manifesting those money-saving hacks. "I am going to start saving money" ends up being put on the back burner for later. "I am going to save $5,000 by the end of this year" leaves you with a goal to focus on. The same applies with reunification: you must hone in on a goal so it becomes top of mind and you become determined to achieve it.

Following these guidelines when your child has stopped responding will allow you to stay on track to resolve the bigger issue: repairing the relationship with your child. Parents often struggle with how exactly to show up for their child given their precise situation. If that is the case for you, that is precisely what we help parents with here at Conscious Co-Parenting Institute. Give our team a call today to learn how our courses or coaching can help you hone in on better showing up for your beloved child, and work on repairing the relationship.


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  1. It's true that they start to 'fold back in' as Dorcy says once you start texting them in a better way. I admit I used to send a lot of old photos, 'hey remember when we would always go to the bowling alley?' and tell them how much I want to see them again. That was about me, not them. I've learned a lot from dorcy's work.

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