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          Rebuilding a Parent/Child Relationship

          November 07, 2002

          If you want to rebuild a troubled relationship with your parent or child but aren’t sure where to start, Dr. Phil has advice:

          Stop judging.
          You can love your parent or child without loving every aspect of his/her life.

          Be honest.
          Tell the truth or don’t say anything at all. You can be honest while retaining a boundary of respect. If discussing certain topics leads to arguments, you can simply say, “I don’t want to talk about that.”

          Talk about things that don’t matter.
          If all you ever talk about in a relationship are problems, you have a problem relationship. Start talking about things that aren’t crucial and don’t cause conflict so that the two of you can get used to talking on a regular basis without arguing. This way, when you do have something important to talk about, the lines of communication will be open

          Forgive yourself.
          There comes a time when you have to leave the past in the past and stop beating up on yourself. If you have guilt about your previous actions toward your parent or child, choose to forgive yourself.

          Make a fresh start.
          Once you have forgiven yourself and your loved one, you can rebuild your relationship without focusing on past conflicts. Commit to renegotiating the relationship with new boundaries.

          Ease into it.
          Don't expect your relationship to change overnight. Move forward together at a pace that is comfortable for both of you. If you take three steps forward and run into a problem, allow yourself to take a step back. When you are ready, take a step forward again.

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