How to Handle When Your Grown Child Hurts Your Feelings (50+ Tips)

The parent-child relationship can be complicated sometimes, especially when the child becomes an adult. When problems and issues arise and are left unresolved, it can have lasting effects on both parties.

So, according to experts, here’s how to handle when your grown child hurts your feelings:

Lena Suarez-Angelino, LCSW

Lena Suarez-Angelino

Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Writer, Choosing Therapy

Don’t take it personally

Easier said than done but try hard not to take your grown child’s reactions personally. Chances are they are going through something entirely unrelated to you and your relationship.

Establish clear boundaries

Try establishing clear boundaries that help you stay grounded and keep you from taking your grown child’s reactions personally. The boundaries serve as a reminder to put yourself first and not get caught up in the situation.

Using self-talk to help you be reminded of the personal boundaries you have made for yourself can be really powerful. Try saying something like, “I choose not to let the actions and reactions of others personally affect me.”

Visualize a bright light around you

Another way that you can work on not taking it personally is by visualizing a bright light around you, creating a barrier from other people’s negative energy and hurtful actions.

Whenever you feel like something is being taken personally, bring yourself back to the bright light barrier you have around you. These strategies can work for anyone that tends to cross your boundaries.

Use self-talk to remind yourself that you don’t need to know every detail of your child’s life

You don’t know every detail. Similar to not taking things personally, you don’t know every single detail or stressor that is going on in their life.

Self-talk will be another great strategy in reminding yourself that you don’t need to know every detail of your child’s life, especially if they are an adult.

While you may think that you know what is best, allowing your child the space to grow, learn, and make mistakes on their own will have more excellent value and opportunity for self-development than if you were to have control over every move they make.

As a parent, you yearn to make life easy and as painless as possible for your children while trying really hard to have an open and trusting relationship.

With that being said, there will be things that you will not be privy to as they age, and that is okay. It is your own opportunity to refocus your time and energy back on yourself and learn to accept not knowing every detail.

Let things cool off before communicating

When you feel hurt or triggered, it is common to want to try to cool things off immediately, but it usually makes things worse. Allow things to settle a bit before sharing how their reactions made you feel.

Every single person has their limit before you see their lid gets blown. Some people’s tolerance and threshold to stressful situations can be enormous and forgiving, while others appear to have a much shorter fuse or tolerance level.

Suppose you notice yourself or observe your grown child becoming irritable and quick to react negatively. In that case, that is a signal to allow things to cool off before communicating again.

It is nearly impossible to arrive at an agreement or compromise when everyone feels on edge or boiling with anger, hurt, or frustration. Do both of you a favor and take a break before you come back to regroup.

Ask yourself what is stirring up for you

When you feel hurt by anyone really, but especially by your grown child, ask yourself, “What unsaid messages or stories are coming up for me?” You may find that you have your own childhood traumas and life experiences that fuel the pain.

As humans, we are surrounded by stories and narratives that almost always feel true. One thing to remember is that thoughts are not facts. In other words, just because you think it does not mean that it is true.

Think about what your child is saying to you that is feeling hurtful. What your mind is trying to tell you is true about you and your parenting style or the relationship between the two of you.

Take some time to reflect and allow yourself to explore the answers to some of these questions.

You may even want to consider journaling, as it helps to express your thoughts and feelings without judgment or pressure to have someone else understand what you are experiencing.

Seek professional support

If you are continually experiencing difficulty handling being hurt by your grown child, seek professional support, such as a therapist, to help you navigate these feelings safely and securely.

Talking about it with someone that you can trust can be helpful. When you have your own designated space to process thoughts and feelings, you can begin to work on your own self-talk, messaging, and mindset to help you navigate anything that comes your way.

Future interactions will be painful, and you will have learned tools to help you manage the situation better. You can even bring your observations from trying the tips above to your therapist to help further discuss and process with them.

Therapy has many benefits and can be a great starting place for your self-development and healing journey.

Laura Doyle

Laura Doyle

Relationship Coach | Author, The Empowered Wife

More communication, not less

When your child becomes an adult, the relationship changes, the rules change, and the dynamic between a parent and a grown child, and it’s easy to get hurt, angry, and disappointed with how your adult child is behaving.

It’s powerfully tempting to let them know how much they hurt you, and many experts suggest it. But even saying “you hurt me” is criticism, and no matter how well-meaning, criticism hurts the closeness and creates distance.

That’s a high price to pay if you really want to feel connected to your child again. Fortunately, there’s a better way to respond when your adult child hurts you instead of reacting.

Here are some powerful but counterintuitive ways to communicate with your adult child when they hurt your feelings so that you strengthen your connection:

Say, “Ouch!”

If your child hurts you with words during a conversation, a great way to communicate is to say only, “Ouch!”

No further explanation is necessary. It may feel awkward, but answering with a vulnerable response creates a sacred trust that makes loved ones want to hold their feelings in safe hands.

You’ll also be honoring your own feelings without defending or flinging arrows at your child. Instead of saying things you might regret, you’ll make your point, but you’ll maintain your dignity and the connection with your child.

Instead of defending themselves against your criticism, your child will hear only their conscience about having hurt you. Very often, taking this vulnerable approach results in a spontaneous apology.

Use a child-fulfilling prophecy

Maybe the cause of the hurt is something that was said to another family member, or it was in action, like not calling you back. In that case, there’s no opportunity to use the word “Ouch!” What then?

Start the conversation off by showing your faith in your child, even if it feels like a stretch. Children tend to live up to your expectations, even in adulthood.

If your goal is to resolve a breakdown, you can use a child-fulfilling prophecy like:

  • “I know how considerate and thoughtful you are.”
  • “I know you like to be on time.”
  • “I know how much you care about your sister.”

Focusing on their best qualities, even if you haven’t seen them in a while, gives your children an opportunity to show up as their best selves.

But, you might wonder how they will know you’re disappointed, angry, or upset if you just say something good about them?

One question to ask yourself is if that’s really your goal. Is your vision to repair and strengthen your relationship with your child? Or to punish them, so they hurt too?

As a mere mortal person, you may want your child to hurt like you’re hurting! That’s just human.

But since you’re reading this article about how to communicate with your child when you’re hurt, something tells me you also want to cultivate a great connection with your child, which is admirable.

Being thoughtful about how you show up when you’re hurt is a great way to strengthen your family bonds.

Express your desires in a way that inspires

Here’s something else you can do to inspire healing with your child when you’re hurt. You can express what you would love without explaining how it has to happen.

Trust that you raised your child well and allow them to take responsibility for resolving the situation in a positive manner. They care about your well-being just as much as you care about them.

They might not know how to fix things when you’re unhappy, but if they know what would make you happy, they will be more inspired to take the opportunity to please you.

For example, instead of saying, “You hurt me when you said this house is always a mess,” you could say, “I love it when you notice how much I do around here to keep things tidy.”

Instead of saying, “I’m hurt that you never call me,” you could say, “I love hearing from you.”

Clean up your side of the street

Another powerful way to restore closeness with your child when you’re hurt is by apologizing for your mistakes, even if they might be tiny by comparison to the bad behavior of your adult child.

It’s not always easy to find the humility to apologize for your shortcomings, especially when you’re feeling hurt.

But if you can muster it, starting a sentence with, “I apologize for…(something specific)” is a powerful tonic for restoring peace and connection to your relationship.

That’s especially true if you stop talking afterward instead of going into why you felt defensive or how they hurt you, which can be very tempting.

Good news: If you feel too awkward apologizing in person, text your apology to make it easier to stay out of defending or criticizing at the end.

You’re creating a culture of accountability in your relationship with your child by being so accountable that you might even get an apology back.

But either way, you’ve created emotional safety, which is a critical ingredient for connection between a parent and a child of any age.

Appreciate them

Finally, if you’re hurt because it doesn’t seem like your child cares about you or doesn’t want to listen to you, it may be that they need to hear why you appreciate them.

A great way to make sure your child is listening is to start by thanking them for something that they did that made your life better, even if it’s just to say, “I was so happy you came to Sunday dinner. Thanks for helping with the salad.”

Look for ways you can express your gratitude to your child. Everyone loves to be appreciated and acknowledged for what they’ve done right.

A grateful approach will contribute to ever more excellent emotional safety, which means fewer “Ouch!” moments going forward, more satisfying conversations, and a stronger bond with your offspring.

Just as being a parent doesn’t mean you don’t get hurt, being all grown up doesn’t mean your child doesn’t feel vulnerable too. If you’re a safe place to land as they learn to navigate adulthood, your close relationship with your child will continue to last and thrive.

Ourania Liandrakis

Ourania Liandrakis

Center Director | Teacher, Tip-Top Brain

Do: Remember, you’re a model

It’s cliché, but our kids watch and take notes (consciously or not). For instance, when a child accidentally spills their juice or breaks a toy, then shocks anybody within earshot by shouting an expletive in frustration.

The expletive and the context it’s used in (in this case, an unexpected, unfortunate situation) were all learned from an adult who modeled that behavior.

In the same fashion, after your child (knowingly or not) hurts your feelings, you are modeling how one reacts when their feelings are hurt.

All that’s to say, your reaction in these situations will inform how your child reacts when their feelings are hurt — for years to come, no less.

In a sense, this might make addressing your hurt feelings that much more straightforward. This is a learning opportunity, and you have a chance to model addressing hurt feelings effectively and appropriately.

Do: Address it immediately

Before I go any further, there’s a big caveat here. If you are not emotionally prepared to respond in a way your level-headed self would be proud of, “immediately” can wait a few minutes or hours.

So, assuming you’re ready and in the right headspace to address your hurt feelings with your child, let’s get to it!

Do: Carefully and appropriately express your hurt

Express your hurt (carefully and appropriately.) State your experience, using “I” statements as often as possible. What matters is that your child understands how you feel.

In no way do you need to — nor should you — provide an objective explanation of the hurtful event. You’re simply sharing how you feel; attributing your feelings to the heartbreaking statement or action is your next step.

Do: Seek to understand

First, I’d read Don’t #3. Once you do — this “Do” will make more sense.

Suppose your child is lashing out, no matter how they’re hurting. As they say, “hurt people hurt people.” While it may be hard to recognize in the chaos of an argument, your child is acting on some negative emotion they’re experiencing.

It’s always best to address inappropriate behavior, but understanding where it stems from is just as (if not more) necessary.

Getting to the root of your child’s hurt is what will make them feel most seen and heard and will allow you to help coach them through their emotions.

Maybe your child feels violated or uncomfortable because you often enter their room without knocking. As silly as it sounds, this could foster a sort of resentment or frustration they can’t yet articulate.

Working through these obstacles will prevent other fights (and hurt feelings) down the line in the long run.

Don’t: React or retaliate

It’s more common than you’d think for parents to react or retaliate. We’re human and consequently are known on occasion to speak before we think. That’s okay; it happens, but it’s not ideal, nor something we should settle for.

What’s problematic is the belief that saying something hurtful back will somehow be a valuable lesson that reflects “real life.” Anecdotally, I knew a teacher whose child was biting other kids, so they bit their child.

At the very best, this was extremely bizarre and left their child confused, if not entirely reinforcing the idea that sometimes it’s permissible to bite people. Yikes.

Don’t: Let things go without any formal confrontation

Sometimes, it is best for us to let things go without any formal confrontation, but this is not one of those times. Yes, they’re your hurt feelings, so it seems exceptionally easy (and maybe even permissible) to let it slide.

If you find yourself slipping into this trap, remember that it may be your feelings, but it’s your child’s behavior.

Related: How to Stop Enabling Your Grown Child

If your child stole $10 from your wallet, you could apply the same reasoning. “It was my $10, and $10 isn’t much. Plus, I’m exhausted. It’s not worth a potentially long and hard conversation.”

Of course, you wouldn’t think this because your child needs to know stealing is wrong (and sure to land them in serious trouble).

Don’t: Take it to heart

Words hurt, even for us adults (after all, we are just extra-big kids.) Of course, feeling hurt by hurtful words or actions is only natural, but try not to dwell on it.

In the heat of the moment, kids can fire off extremely hurtful things without realizing it. Have you ever heard baby snakes and baby scorpions use all of their venoms when they strike?

It’s true, they do! Why? Because they haven’t yet learned how to control how much of this lethal defense mechanism. In a sense, kids are the same way.

Their initial attacks might be overkill as they learn how to fight people. In years to come, I bet your child will remember (and regret) their hurtful words and actions directed towards you (I know I regret things I said to my parents as a teen.)

Kim Minch

Kim Minch

Certified Addiction Counselor, Mountainside Treatment Center

Dealing with the hurt that stems from substance abuse by a grown child — a young adult in their late teens or 20s still living at home — can be among the most challenging trials a parent faces.

You might feel torn between your love for your child and the extreme anxiety and discomfort their addiction creates or worry that you risk losing the relationship entirely by addressing the problem.

Related: How to Stop Worrying About Everything

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and how exactly parents should tackle substance abuse problems in their home will depend significantly on whether the child is under or over 18, their drug of choice, and the stage of their addiction.

However, parents can take some general steps to address their grown child’s dependence while also preserving their own mental well-being.

Draw the adult child into a dialogue

A good first step can be drawing the adult child into a dialogue if they are open to talking about their substance use or abuse. From there, parents should refer the child to someone, such as a drug addiction counselor or specialist, who can help them.

Avoid the “tough love” approach

Avoid the “tough love” approach, which may involve complete disconnection from the child, for instance, or a focus on addiction as a moral failing.

“Tough love” and shame-based approaches, despite being much-publicized and used in the past, have been proven not to be effective and are, in fact, counterproductive.

Parents can and should set boundaries

For young adults over 18 and still living at home, this can be a difficult discussion because they may expect complete independence and the ability to do what they want, where they want, with no outside interference.

Parents should clarify that they still make the rules and establish expectations within their household, with consequences if those expectations are not met.

Related: Parenting an Adult Child Living at Home & Good House Rules

There are ways to provide support without enabling their child’s addiction, and parents often have more power in these situations than they think.

Limiting or cutting off their child’s access to a parent’s car

An example would be limiting or cutting off their child’s access to a parent’s car or refusing to fund a young adult’s college education unless they remain sober and committed to their academic work.

Make clear that your child still has a choice in how the relationship progresses.

From the adult child’s perspective, the option may not be desirable — attending counseling as a condition for receiving money for school, for instance — but no one can make them do anything.

This approach shows them why it would be their interest to consider making healthy changes.

Remember that people in active addiction are not their best selves

They may say things to their parents that are deliberately hurtful or act in ways that sabotage the relationship. However, if they are willing to seek sobriety, family counseling can help mend those damaged bonds.

The best way to support a loved one is to be well yourself

That goes for parents of people in active addiction or people in recovery. Typically, family dynamics can become dysregulated before treatment is sought, with everyone focusing on one family member’s problems.

Instead, the focus should be moved back to the family as a whole so that parents can continue to navigate their own lives while assisting the child in need.

Mo Mulla

Mo Mulla

Founder, Parental Questions

As a parent, it’s challenging to deal when our children hurt our feelings. We want to be able to trust them and know that they will never deliberately hurt us, but sometimes they say or do things that make us feel upset.

Here are a few tips for how to handle this situation:

Talk to your child about what they said or did that made you feel hurt

Sometimes, we assume that our children know when they have done something wrong, but this isn’t always true.

Explain to your child why their words or actions were hurtful and work with them to find a solution moving forward.

Related: How to Deal with a Disrespectful Grown Child

Don’t hold grudges against your child

Don’t hold grudges against your child and refuse to let them see you as anything other than a parent.

Just because they hurt your feelings doesn’t mean that you should stop caring for them or showing them love. Forgive them and move on so that your relationship can stay strong.

Seek out support from other parents who have gone through similar experiences

It can be helpful to talk to others who have been through similar situations so that you can get ideas for how to handle these challenging moments.

Sit down and have an honest conversation with your grown child

If your grown child continues to hurt your feelings, it may be time to sit down and have an honest conversation with them about what is going on.

Remember that sometimes children make mistakes, but when handled appropriately, those mistakes can ultimately help to strengthen your relationship.

Rachel Fink

Rachel Fink

Founder, Parenting Pod

Be mature about it

I’m a mother of seven, and some of my children are all grown up. And of course, sometimes your children can hurt your feelings! The way I handle this and recommend handling it, in general, is by being mature about it.

Your grown child is an adult, and therefore they are more than capable of handling conversations like an adult.

So the first step is to remember this:

Don’t treat the situation as if they were still a child, and don’t hide your hurt feelings, as they will just build up and create an awkward and tense situation.

Approach your child and ask to have a conversation

Instead, approach your child and ask to have a conversation. Make sure you ask them first so that they can give you their full attention and so that they are prepared.

There’s nothing worse than simply starting a conversation and catching them off guard, as this can make them act defensive!

Calmly explain that what they said or how they behaved hurt your feelings

Then, calmly explain that what they said or how they behaved hurt your feelings. I find that it helps to avoid being aggressive in your language consciously.

So instead of saying, “You did this, and it hurt me,” try something like:

“The way in which this happened has made me feel this way, and I’m hoping that we can both do things differently moving forward to avoid this.”

Once they understand why it hurt your feelings, they can decide to alter their behavior to avoid it from happening again!

Lesley Koeppel

Lesley Koeppel

Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Expertise in Support Groups, Individual Counseling and Oncology

Share your feelings with your loved ones

Whenever our feelings get hurt by someone we love, it can be complicated to know what to say or do (or what not to say or do).

As a therapist, I always encourage my clients to share their feelings with their loved ones, not to let resentment grow by holding the feelings in, and not cause the relationship to suffer in any way.

This concept holds true with your own children and with no exception as to whether they are young or grown. The trick is in how we communicate our feelings.

It is essential to communicate how someone’s actions (or inactions) made you feel when your feelings get hurt. We need to let it out in a constructive way.

I coined the phrase, Communicate, so we don’t ruminate. Ruminating leads to things spiraling down to the wrong place. So it is vital to communicate your feelings when hurt by someone you care about.

I use a “template” for all situations like this, no matter what kind of situation has occurred.

The template is:

When you [Fill in the action that someone did or didn’t do], it makes me feel [Name your feeling. Name-calling or pointing the finger back at them in this second part is not naming your feeling].”

It is hard to argue with a feeling, it will help the other person understand the impact of their action (or inaction), and it will help with your relationship moving forward.

Most parents are skilled at doing this with their younger children but have a more challenging time with their grown children. There may be many reasons why parents don’t say anything if their grown child hurts their feelings.

Perhaps there are partners or spouses involved, and that feels complicated.

Maybe a parent thinks their grown child would feel infantilized by this kind of communication (but really, you are not “parenting” your grown child by telling them what to do. You simply let them know how their actions hurt you).

Whatever the reason, communicating with your grown child if your feelings get hurt by them will only bring you closer if you do it in the right way by using the template described above.

Let’s say your grown child hurt your feelings by not calling you on your birthday, you can use the template to communicate how their actions impacted you and hurt your feelings without scolding them or parenting them (which is not what they would respond to anyway).

The correct way would be to say, “When you didn’t call me on my birthday, I felt really sad and unimportant in your life.”

The incorrect way would be to say, “When you didn’t call me on my birthday, I felt like you were insensitive.” Name-calling is not naming your feeling!

Your child may have been insensitive not to call you, but saying this to them will only make them feel bad and won’t make them feel so inclined to call you next year.

Angela Milnes

Angela Milnes

Psychology Teacher and Family Lifestyle Blogger | Founder, The Inspiration Edit

It’s natural to feel hurt when your grown child says or does something that feels like a personal rejection. It’s your child, but you still want to be accepted or loved by your child.

It’s a basic human need to be accepted and loved. While it may feel difficult to deal with the hurt feelings, the good news is that there are some healthy ways for parents to respond.

Here are some personal tips:

Ask for a do-over

If you’re in the middle of a discussion and things start to escalate, take a step back and ask for a do-over. This will give you both a chance to cool down and approach the conversation with a more positive attitude.

Practice self-care

When we’re dealing with hurt feelings, it’s essential to take care of ourselves in various ways.

This may include:

  • taking some time to relax and de-stress
  • engaging in physical activity
  • doing something that brings us joy

Related: 9 Ways to Relax and Calm Your Mind

It’s also important to be mindful of our self-talk. Try to avoid beating yourself up or dwelling on negative thoughts. Instead, focus on thinking kind and compassionate thoughts towards yourself.

Remember that this too shall pass

It’s important to remember that these difficult situations are usually temporary. With time and patience, things will eventually improve.

While hurt feelings can be excruciating, it’s essential to try and focus on the bigger picture. Remembering that this too shall pass can help us get through the tough times with more grace and resilience.

Don’t let it interfere with your relationship

Finally, it’s crucial to remember that our relationships with our grown children are more important than any hurt feelings we may experience.

At the end of the day, our relationship with our child is more important than anything else.

It’s crucial to maintain a constructive and supportive relationship with our grown children, even when things get complicated. This can help us to weather any storms that may come our way.

Alexa Justine Callada

Alexa Justine Callada

Marketing Specialist, Trekroofing

I have lots of job experience, and no job is harder than being a mother. The saying that “It takes a village to raise a child” is true. I experience it myself.

I have a hard time raising my child as a single parent while studying in college, plus I am a working student too.

Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell them straight that their actions affect us

And looking forward to the scenario. I guess it’s just as simple as when he hurt my feelings; I will tell him straight on that his actions affect me.

Sometimes our children have no idea of what they are doing, so as mothers, we will still do our job and tell them everything, don’t be afraid to speak up; the best relationship comes from good communication so that you would understand each other.

When you have a grown child who hurts your feelings, it can be challenging to know what to do. Parents need to remember that their children will grow up eventually, so it’s best not to hold onto hurtful memories from childhood forever.

Set clear boundaries with your children to know what behaviors are acceptable

The most important thing for parents is to learn how to avoid hurting their children in the future. This includes setting clear boundaries with their children to know what behaviors are acceptable and which ones aren’t.

Believe it or not, there is an invisible thread between mothers and children; you just need to feel it in your hearts.

Natalie Maximets

Natalie Maximets

Certified Life Transformation Coach, OnlineDivorce

Sit and chat with your child about their actions

It is essential to sit and chat with your child about their actions. Often, parents do not expect their children to point out their errors, which is harmful.

Treating them as the kids they used to be can be severe to your relationship at that moment. Once the child is grown, treat them like grown-ups.

Treat them like your friends who would understand your point

Treat them like your friends who would understand your point because they actually will if you are talking with logic.

Express yourself well, tell them why the behavior was problematic, and they might understand your point and be more careful next time.

Approach a family counselor

Often, the disagreement is significant enough for children not to see their parents’ point. It is when you might need to approach a family counselor. You can go alone or with your child and take the initiative to mend the relationship.

Jaya Aiyar

Jaya Aiyar

Founder, Creatif Franchise

Stay calm and understand what they’ve been going through

It’s a heartbreaking moment for a parent to hear unkind and hurtful words from their children. It’ll make you think that you’re not good enough and didn’t raise them well.

It’s so easy to get angry and scold them in return, but stay calm and understand what they’ve been going through. Remember that these hurtful words your child is using are not about you.

Taking it personally will lead to a big emotional reaction that might be the source of inappropriate behavior.

Think about what you will respond to and how you’ll say it

Stay calm ⁠— breathe in, breathe out. Think about what you will respond to and how you’ll say it before you spurt the words out of your mouth.

Regulate your emotions, and keep your facial expression as neutral as possible. Remember that they don’t know how painful emotions can be expressed.

Related: How to Deal with Emotional Pain

Set boundaries and keep your verbal response direct

“It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to say hurtful things.” Effectively respond to your child’s poor behavior and enlighten them that doing such an act won’t solve their problem.

Reconnect ⁠— show your child that you love them, no matter what.

Avoid shaming, punishing, and talking back to your children. Seek to understand them and validate their uncontrollable feelings.

David Mason

David Mason

Interior designer and Owner, Knobs

It’s perfectly normal for parents to feel hurt when their grown children say or do something that feels critical or dismissive. It can take a real toll on our self-esteem if we’re not prepared for it.

To the degree that it’s not handled well, the more likely it can become a pattern of behavior that can lead to estrangement.

Although it can be challenging to deal with, there are some practical steps that you can take to work through these feelings.

Sometimes it’s okay to take it personally

Our grown children say or do some things that are so hurtful that it feels like a personal attack. It can be difficult to avoid taking things personally, especially when we’re already feeling sensitive.

However, it’s important to remember that these negative comments or actions are not necessarily directed at us personally.

In most cases, they result from our children struggling with their own issues or frustrations that have nothing to do with us.

Communicate directly with your child

One of the best ways to deal with hurt feelings in these situations is to communicate directly with your child. It can be helpful to calmly and respectfully express to our grown children that their words or actions hurt our feelings.

Communication is also a two-way street, so it’s essential to be open to hearing your child’s perspective. Try to see things from their point of view and understand where they are coming from.

Seek out outside support

It can be helpful to talk to a trusted friend or family member about what’s going on. This can help us gain some much-needed perspective and distance from the situation.

Related: How to Build a Personal and Family Support System

If you’re struggling to cope with hurt feelings on your own, it may be advisable to seek out the support of a licensed mental health professional.

Emma Gordon

Emma Gordon

Founder, USSalvageYards

My reaction when my grown child hurts me will depend mainly on the act, what led to it, and their reaction afterward.

Being hurt by loved ones can be so heartbreaking that one can resolve to silence in order not to cause further damage that can impair the existing relationship.

Some of the steps I take are:

Do a dialogue method with your grown child

From experience, when my grown son, who I’d shown love for all along, hurt me, I first watched and analyzed what led to it to see if I was at fault or not, and I also watched his reaction after my analysis showed that he was actually at fault.

He wasn’t remorseful, and I had to consult him to know the actual state of things; it was there that I realized that he was bitter due to a false claim he had heard from someone.

We then talked about it, and we resolved the issue amicably. As a parent, when my grown children hurt me, which is normal, I dialogue with them, which has significantly helped.

Confront them to express your feelings

There were times that I had to confront them and express my feelings and how their actions hurt me and how I couldn’t resolve to silence them.

I subscribe to this when the action is continuous, and I’ve hoped for change, but it didn’t show. When I do this, my mind is relieved, and my conscience will be cleared of grudges.

Most times, positive changes have followed this, and they are always sober while I make my grievances known because it’s not common.

Sameera Sullivan

Sameera Sullivan

Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers

No one has yet cracked the secret to parenting. Most parents tend to learn and grow along the way and mostly learn through the mistakes they make.

A particularly difficult phase of a relationship between a parent and a child is when the child is grown and has fully developed into their personality.

It is difficult because there are a lot of conflicting opinions at this moment, which can lead to arguments and children saying hurtful things to their parents.

Assess and learn how you played a part in the situation

It is a painful experience, but it needs to be dealt with to understand where it is coming from. Hence first assess the situation and learn how you played a part in it.

Try to respond with love

Next, instead of reciprocating, try to respond with love, communicate your feelings, and understand theirs. Explain to them how they were out of line and how saying such a thing is wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What if my adult child refuses to acknowledge the hurtful incident or dismisses my feelings?

It can be frustrating and discouraging when your child is unwilling to see things from your point of view. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Respect your child’s boundaries. While expressing your feelings is essential, you must also respect your child’s right to their opinions and beliefs.

Don’t give up hope. Healing takes time, and your child’s perspective may change over time as they gain more life experience or have new insights.

Consider getting support. Talking with a therapist, trusted friend, or family member can help you process your feelings and find new strategies for communicating with your child.

How can I avoid being overbearing or controlling when addressing hurtful behavior?

Choose your battles wisely: Focus on addressing critical issues that impact your relationship, not every little disagreement or misunderstanding.

Ask permission to share your thoughts: Instead of imposing your opinion, ask your grown child if they are open to listening to your thoughts or advice on the matter.

Be mindful of how you express yourself: When discussing sensitive topics, express your feelings in a gentle tone and with “I” statements without blaming your child.

How do you stay close to a grown child?

Staying close to an adult child requires effort and commitment on both sides. Here are some tips on how to maintain a strong and loving relationship with your adult child:

Keep the lines of communication open: Ensure you stay in touch with your child regularly, whether through phone calls, text messages, or social media. Check-in with them and let them know you’re there for them.

Find common ground: Even with different interests or lifestyles, look for activities or hobbies you can enjoy together. Whether you cook, hike, or watch movies, finding common ground can strengthen your bond.

Listen actively: When your child talks to you, ensure you’re fully present and engaged in the conversation. Ask questions, show empathy, and avoid interrupting your child or ignoring their feelings.

Respect boundaries: As your child grows up, they may need more space and privacy. Respect those boundaries; don’t take it personally if your child needs time out.

Offer emotional support: Life can be challenging, and your child may need your emotional support from time to time. Whether through encouraging words, a listening ear, or practical help, let your child know you’re there for them.

Practice forgiveness: No one is perfect, and mistakes may be made by you or your child. Practice forgiveness and move forward with a positive attitude.

Remember that every relationship is different, so find out what works best for you and your child. Most importantly, continue to be committed to a strong and supportive relationship no matter how old your child gets.

How can I stop worrying about my adult child?

It is natural for parents to worry about their adult child, but they must find a way to deal with their worries while respecting the child’s autonomy. Here are some strategies to help you avoid worrying excessively about your grown child:

Accept their independence: Remember that your adult child is an adult who is capable of making their own decisions and dealing with the consequences. Trust that you have given them the tools and values needed to navigate life.

Focus on the present: Rather than dwelling on past issues or potential future problems, concentrate on the present and the positive aspects of your adult child’s life.

Set boundaries: Establish healthy boundaries for yourself and your grown child by acknowledging that they are responsible for their own life choices. This can help reduce your feelings of responsibility and worry.

Practice self-care: Take care of your own physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engage in hobbies, sports, meditation, or other activities that help you stay balanced and manage stress.

Develop a mantra or positive affirmation: If you worry excessively, repeat a calming mantra or positive affirmation to focus your thoughts and regain perspective.

Celebrate their accomplishments: Focus on your adult child’s accomplishments and strengths, and express pride in their achievements. This can help you maintain a positive attitude and reduce worry.

Let go of control: Realize that you cannot control every aspect of your adult child’s life. Accept that your child will face challenges and make mistakes just like you do and that this is part of their personal development.

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