When Children Break the Relationship with their Parents

When children break the relationship with their parents there may be a good justification: a history of abuse, antagonism in values​​… However, sometimes this is not always true. We must assume that there are also children who act selfishly.

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When children break the relationship with their parents, they do not always understand the reason. It is clear that nobody is perfect. There will be fathers and mothers who, without a doubt, do not deserve the love of their children. However, there are also children who, without any justification, choose to turn the page, to mark distances and leave a painful silence before a bewildered and desolate family.

This is undoubtedly a complicated subject that presents different approaches. Although we do not yet have statistical data on the number of families in which parents and children are estranged, it should be noted that in clinical practice this is one of the most common problems. Being a father or mother is difficult; and being a son is likewise.

On the other hand there is a factor that we must highlight. Within this most popular literature, it is common to find the image of toxic mothers, authoritarian parents and dysfunctional families that give rise to clearly unhappy children. It is an undeniable reality that nobody can argue, it exists, it occurs frequently and as such it is there.

However, one aspect that is not talked about too much is that of the children who, from one day to the next, cease to have contact with their parents. Furthermore, there are adult children with adverse and debilitating behaviors for their families. Sometimes there may be a psychological disorder behind, of course, but this does not happen in 100% of the cases. It is a problem that many parents face even in very advanced ages.

“Prudent father is the one who knows his son”.

-William Shakespeare-

When children break the relationship with their parents, why does it happen?

To explain the reason why children break the relationship with their parents, we must bear in mind that this is often influenced by the cultural and social context. If we compare the Anglo-Saxon model with the Japanese one, for example, we will see how cultural values ​​about the family are far from each other. The context, therefore, influences, but so do the personality and internal dynamics that occur within each home.

In this way, studies like the one published in The Journals of Gerontology by Drs. Glenn Deane Glenna Spitz show us something interesting. The reason why children break the relationship with their parents does not always respond to a single factor. There are no conclusive predictors because sometimes, facts such as the partners of the children or even the relationship between siblings are combined.

However, we can start from two clear and obvious facts. The first is that parental-filial distance is due to a complex link between one and the other. The second issue is related to the personality of the children or the circumstances that surround them. Let’s see the data below.

The weight of a parenting and a problematic environment

When we think about the reason why children break off their relationship with their parents, there is undoubtedly the weight of a past in which detachment, humiliation, lack of support, criticism or authoritarianism have lived. In this way, when we talk with these adult children to understand why distance and the need to cut the link, we find the following reasons.

  • They are clear that their parents (or one of them) did not exercise paternity or motherhood correctly.
  • The traumatic wounds that they drag make reconciliation impossible. Putting distance is often a health exercise.

Often, there is a clear distance between the values ​​of each other. This would not be a reason in itself to establish a total break in contact. However, when the parents do not respect the ideas or way of life of the children and there are sanctions, criticisms and continued reproaches, they can opt for a more drastic departure.

Children who do not love their parents, the silence of incomprehension

There are sons and daughters who, at a given moment, choose to cut off contact with their parents. That silence causes anguish and incomprehension to parents who do not finish assuming this situation. However, this decision does not come from one day to the next; There is often a long history of problems where that exit or that choice is not new.

Let’s analyze below what reasons may be behind.

  • Personality style. There are people with problematic behaviors who choose to cut the tie with their parents. However, the data tells us that this distance is usually not permanent.
  • Psychological problems or addictions. These dimensions are facts of great importance that must always be taken into account. Sometimes children choose to leave home or stop communicating with parents because of the consumption of certain substances and also psychological disorders.
  • Resentments not resolved. Another factor is those events that, at times, mark distances between the members of a family. The economic problems, problems between brothers, discussions and misunderstandings or feel that at a given time the son did not receive the support he expected from his parents, can mark an insurmountable distance.
  • Couple relationships. This is undoubtedly another element that we must take into account. Sometimes, the children begin relationships where a distance is created with respect to the family. It is a common occurrence in dependent relationships where one member ends up controlling (and isolating) the other to separate him from his emotional support.

What can we do when the children break the relationship with their parents?

The reasons why children break the relationship with parents are, as we see, very varied. Each reality is unique and each family has exceptional characteristics. There will be cases, no doubt, where the distance is prudent and even necessary for certain people (especially if the coexistence is traumatic and there is a past of abuse).

Now, something that we recommend in all cases is communication. If a child needs to establish distance from the family nucleus of origin, he must state the reasons that lead to that decision. Something like this forces us to look for solutions, to reach agreements for both parties. In these cases it is always advisable to seek the help of specialized professionals.

On the other hand, something that is also recommended in the case of parents and mothers with problematic children is that they are patients. In most of the occasions, the children return to the contact again. They are very hard realities that you have to know how to understand individually, closely and comprehensively.