When Your Grown Child Breaks Your Heart
Big Kid Parenting

When Your Grown Child Breaks Your Heart

Many parents secretly want their children to remain babies. This is because grown children go on to live their lives and probably become parents to their children.

At this point, their nuclear family members, especially their parents, often feel disconnected from them.

In several instances, the decision of your adult child breaks your heart, and because they are grown children, you might have to live with their choices. 

For this reason, developing stable mental health as a parent is crucial in coping with family life.

This article will discuss a holistic approach to raising an excellent family. We will also offer mental health tips to apply when your grown child breaks your heart. 

This promises to be an exciting read! Let’s get right into it!

The Family Life

An ideal family is a close-knit unit of society that has well-groomed children with perfect parents.

Family life in this setting is excellent but boring as the children do not throw tantrums, and the little child is always well-behaved.

The ideal family life is not obtainable in the real world. This is because parents are not perfect in real life but have several shortcomings.

Parents often try to raise their little child by enforcing ground rules and stating the consequences of the child’s actions. 

Sometimes, they go overboard in their actions as parents, which may tear families apart. Of course, parents are not perfect and may also struggle with their inadequacies.

But, we must also recognize and acknowledge children’s feelings from a young age, as this breeds confidence and assures them of our unconditional love as they grow.

In addition, every child is unique in their personality and perception of love. Therefore, a parent must focus on knowing their child and invest in healthy child development.

It will help you to listen, understand their peculiarities, and admit it when you are wrong. 

This makes you your child’s friend and keeps them close to you even when they are grown.

A huge part of parenting is trusting your child to make their decisions and live by the consequences of their actions.

This is typically difficult for most parents as they want to protect their children from the harsh reality of life.

Yet, this trust breeds healthy adults that do not feel constrained by their parents in their formative years.

However, you can only do your best as a parent to train your kid with unconditional love. Ultimately, your grown child has to choose how they want to live.

Some of these decisions may be wrong and heartbreaking, painting you as a bad parent to society and other family members. 

To keep stable mental health, you must learn how to cope and heal when your grown child breaks your heart.

How Your Grown Child Can Break Your Heart

There are random heartbreaking moments for many parents as they watch their children grow.

A common one is sending their little child to school or their teenager off to college. While they are happy about their child’s progress, it can be a root cause of anxiety for most parents.

Adult children break their parents’ hearts unintentionally through their life choices. These decisions may not always be wrong, but in some cases, they are.

For instance, an unmarried female daughter breaks her mother’s heart by getting pregnant and becoming a single mother.

This is a norm in the States and other parts of the world, especially if the adult child is doing well for herself.

However, it can raise the mother’s anxiety and cause her to worry about the grown child. 

Another example of the heartbreaking choices of adult children is substance abuse. This may be alcoholism or drug dependence.

Watching your grown child become a victim of substance abuse can make you feel miserable and heart broken as they begin to show the adverse effects of these substances, such as mental illness and bipolar disorder. 

Then again, your adult child may be doing everything right but does not just want to remain close to you.

They may be building new relationships, and you feel the pain of their neglect. They may not want to talk to you or listen to your advice. 

At this point, you feel like you have failed in parenting, even though your heart knows you did your best as a parent.

At times like this, when you are hurting as a parent, you need to take time to heal and cope intentionally.

In the early days, healing may be a struggle, and you may need a support group. But the process gets better as you become stronger.

What to Do When Your Grown Child Breaks Your Heart

The reality of life is that young children will eventually leave the nest and grow.

As a parent to grown children, you must recognize that it is up to them to foist a relationship between you and other family members or make new relationships as they build their lives. 

If you have a close attachment to your kid, it will hurt you to see them leave, but you must learn to heal and cope.

If you cannot learn to cope or have no idea how to, on most days, you might find yourself in pain as you nurse your broken heart.

 So, what do you do when your grown up child breaks your heart?

1. Own Your Feelings

The first step to start healing is admitting how you feel about your grown child’s choices.

When your grown child breaks your heart, you will often go through overwhelming feelings that might spike worry, anxiety, and depression.

Most parents often feel they have failed in their parenting roles and have an overwhelming sense of grief.

These feelings can be a lot to bear, so parents often bury them beneath anger and eruptive outbursts.

However, the best way to cope with your feelings is to acknowledge their existence. There are many emotions you may have to sort when your grown child breaks your heart.

Remember that a broken heart may also lead to feelings of sorrow and helplessness if not quickly sorted.

Guilt is also a familiar feeling that accompanies this situation, and the parent often feels fear, anger, confusion, and denial. 

Parents often think that the child would turn out differently if they had acted differently over the years.

So, they plunge into self-accusation and blame their child’s failure on themselves. 

Because you have groomed the child for so many years, it is natural to become attached to your child and have these feelings when you feel them slip off your fingers. So, your feelings are valid! 

Acknowledging and accepting these feelings will help you chart a coping and healing course for yourself.

2. Talk

The best way to maintain stable mental health is by talking to the right people about your feelings of anxiety and pain over your children’s actions. 

While talking liberates and relieves you of anxiety, it requires vulnerability.

Being vulnerable enough to talk about your frustrations and pain, especially when it has to do with your grown child, is no easy fit.

You might be misunderstood or get into arguments with your grown child. This may further hurt your already strained relationship.

So, although talking is crucial in your healing process, it requires tact and wisdom.

 Having a heartfelt conversation with your grown child is necessary for you to start healing.

This intimate conversation should hold the actual state of your feelings without trying to guilt the child for living their life. 

It is pertinent to carry on the conversation as grown adults and try to communicate your hurt without being vindictive or manipulative.

Having an honest conversation with your grown also entails that you listen to their viewpoint and try to reason with them.

For example, if your child struggles with substance abuse, say cocaine, having an honest conversation will enlighten you about their reason for depending on such drugs. 

While the situation may be breaking your heart, you are not the only one affected.

Listening to them may give you ideas on how to help your grown child cope and wean off the wrong decisions they have made. 

Talking about their feelings and yours will most likely help you start healing and mend your broken relationship.

 If your grown-up child does not want to talk to you, you may confide in your close friends or a therapist.

These may help you cope with the situation and offer sound advice. 

3. Seek Support

Having your grown child ignore you or break your heart can be traumatic. And the last thing you want at this time is to be alone.

It will help to seek a support system to help and encourage you during this period. They may be other family members, close friends, or even a support group.

Doing what you love with your loved ones will help give your heart coping strength when your child breaks your heart. 

4. Reflect on Past Years of Parenting

First, it is crucial to realize that conflicts frequently have two sides.

There must be a specific reason for your heart to have been hurt by your grown child, even if it is not always the case. The origin of this might become clear with some thought.

For instance, did your parenting style contribute to the conflict? Recount the circumstances that led to the conflict after taking a step back.

Did your participation or your actions influence the outcome that sparked the disagreement in any way?

Strictness is a frequent parenting strategy that might result in such terrible situations.

Children who have grown up in tight homes frequently seek other opportunities to experience independence outside the family. 

They may feel overly regulated when they are still your children, especially if they are grown, and you still insist on making decisions for them.  

Another typical problem that might result in a parent’s broken heart is showing children too little love and attention as they mature.

Due to their personal experiences during childhood, children may grow up showing their parents no love in return.

You are still their parent, even though they are already adults.

Therefore, it is never too late to consider your parenting style and determine whether it supports the kind of relationship you desire with your child.

5. Forgive

Forgiveness, in this case, is a two-way street. When your child hurts you through their decisions and choices, you may become bitter and resentful toward them.

 This response will certainly not help your relationship, and you may need to let go of the hurt.

Moreover, you are the parent in the relationship and should love your choice unconditionally.

While forgiving a child for doing wrong might be a herculean task, it helps you to focus on steps to heal your relationship and ways to remain close to your grown child.

On the other side, you must also be willing to forgive yourself for your mistakes as a parent over the years.

This will help you overcome the anxiety and depression that come with the negative thoughts of failed parenting.

With forgiveness comes a yearning to be a better parent to your child, regardless of the grown child’s actions.

6. Focus on Being Positive

As your grown child’s parent, you must learn to remain positive even when they are being unreasonable. 

Remember that your child is their own person and is capable of taking responsibility for their actions. 

Therefore, you must try to understand and reason with them. Keeping away negativity from your tone and conversation will help you win your adult child over and foist the relationship between you two.

7. Be Present

Your grown child will often try to prove that they are grown up by pushing you away. It hurts to experience this as a parent.

However, you are still the parent to this person and must learn always to play your role as their parent, regardless of the grown child’s actions. 

You can prove your unconditional love for your grown child by being present and within their reach. 

You can have healthy boundaries and respect their decisions, but be always ready to help when they ask you to.

Also see: Ten Punishments That Work


It’s crucial to keep in mind that we are not the only ones experiencing grief.

 The same thing has happened to or is happening to many other people. Both online and offline, there are numerous tools at our disposal to aid in our healing. 

Never hesitate to seek assistance, whether it comes from close friends, relatives, or a professional.

Don’t be afraid to give yourself time to heal; you will overcome this, though it might take some time.

Mo Mulla

Mo Mulla is a work from home dad who enjoys reading and listening to music, He loves being a dad and husband to a growing family. He also loves writing about his passions and hopes to change the world, 1 blog post at a time!

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