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"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, and penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."

          -Maya Angelou

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Our Story

Our family’s experience with estrangement opened my eyes to the world of rejection, confusion and silence. It wasn’t that I didn’t know people left families - I did. It simply hadn’t occurred to me that someone in our family would feel the need to cut off communication. I experienced firsthand the pain, isolation and helplessness of estrangement when my daughter, Bri, chose to - needed to - step away from our family.
 
As is the case for so many, there was a single – final – event that pushed our daughter to choose between her family of origin and her own growing family unit. I didn’t understand then or, more accurately, wasn’t recognizing the seriousness of the situation. I wasn’t hearing her pleas for change, respect, acceptance, and compassion. I didn’t see her emotional exhaustion – I was focused on my expectations and the dreams I’d created for her life. This is not to say the fault was all mine – all people in a relationship share responsibility. But what I could affect – what I could change – was me.
 
I am a different person now. Not only because of the emotional roller coaster estrangement brings but because after months of reading books, researching and attending countless workshops, I began to understand my responsibility and role in her choice – her need - to leave. Slowly, my eyes opened – then my heart – and finally my entire being. It felt like I had been living in a black and white photo that was suddenly filled with color.
 
When I went back to reread her emails, texts and letters, I began to understand her differently and recognized her once hurtful writing as love letters. I could hear her pleas for change and her exasperation at my inability to hear her. As I began to understand her differently, I knew I needed to do whatever was necessary to become the mom she was asking me – needing me – to be. Although I did not feel responsible for every aspect of her estrangement, I realized that I could only change myself and that I wanted to do my self-work in hopes that our family could heal.
 
Over time, through faith, some pretty tough conversations and, I believe, a mutual willingness to take responsibility for ourselves, we have been able to establish a new relationship. She restated her boundaries and expectations – I listened and work every day to be a more mature mom. The most beautiful outcome of the past three years is that I now have the privilege and opportunity to know my daughter as an independent adult woman and the mother of my grandchildren. She is a lovely human and a fully engaged mom. You will have a chance to meet her in our podcast and various events. I anticipate you will find her insightful and wise beyond her years.
 
Parents often ask me  “will our family ever be the same.” My answer is that I hope not. That’s the point of estrangement – things were not good for Bri – to the degree that she felt no option but to cut ties. As such, things were not good for our family. I used to say to my children when they were young, “One for all and all for one,” and I meant it. Things can not return to how they were – we’re different people. Our new relationship is so much better now. We listen to each other – all of us, not most of us - all of us. We are more considerate, respect each other’s boundaries, and can enjoy each other authentically.
 
Becoming estranged from family is a difficult hardship. If you are ready to walk through the hot coals of self-discovery, know I'm here to walk alongside you. When Our Adult Children Walk Away offers resources, assessment, training, group and individual conversations, and strategies to become the parent or family member your adult child is asking – needs – you to be. Though we can’t promise reconnection, we can and will help you prepare to reconnect when opportunities present themselves. The time to do your work – to reflect, learn and grow - is now.

 

Let’s get to work!

Best Practices

Services delivered through When Our Adult Children Walk Away are designed to assist people in preparing for opportunities to repair. Services are developed from current research and professional training. Services are not therapeutic and do not replace licensed mental health care. 

Empathy and Trust

We work with people in an open, empathetic, authentic manner, free of judgment, based on curiosity and strategic problem-solving. Conversations are confidential.

Communication

We assess and identify individual communication styles and teach communication skills that support respectful dialogue. We help people learn, to manage their emotions and bring their best selves to their relationships.

Self-Discovery

We facilitate self-discovery and personal growth in preparation for reconnection opportunities, a renewed sense of purpose, and happiness.

Tools and Strategies

We provide tested techniques, tools and strategies to help understand and survive the daily worry, pain and isolation of fracturing relationships. Our top priority is to ensure people are connected and know they are not alone.

Repair and Rebuild

We explore and identify communication techniques that can facilitate, repair and begin to rebuild better relationships.

Opportunities to repair may be infrequent and unexpected. The time to prepare is now!

Finding Your Purpose

We encourage and support people as they rediscover or renew their sense of purpose and joy in the wake of separation.

The work to prepare and repair is not easy. And the rewards are rich.

Contact Dr. Steinkamp at Janet@jesteinkamp.com to schedule a complimentary 30 minute discovery conversation!

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