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FAMILY

Why are so many young people cutting off their parents?

The bond of family has long been thought to be the most basic and the most binding, but recent studies show that this traditional social unit is unraveling.

The bond of family has long been thought to be the most basic and the most binding, but recent studies show that this traditional social unit is unraveling.
JONATHAN DRAKEREUTERS

The family is a crucial social unit where individuals form their identity and learn values, cultural practices, and life skills. This is where children receive their first education and emotional and economic support. The family is the foundation unit of many societies, which is meant to provide unconditional love and comfort with ties believed to last forever. However, as societies develop, social structures are often questioned, and those who find that the family has not served as a place of comfort are taking steps to distance themselves from those traditional bonds.

The ties that bind are fraying

One study on parent-adult child estrangement published in the Journal of Marriage and Family showed that 26% of the young adult subjects interviewed were estranged from their fathers, while 6% had cut off relations with their mothers.

According to a book by sociologist Karl Pillemer titled “Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them,” 27% of Americans who were 18 years of age and above had cut off relationships with a member of their family. The author explained that even though relationships may become estranged, it can still be a difficult situation for those involved.

Why are so many young people cutting off their parents?

Ohio State University sociology professor Rin Reczek, who led the research on parent-adult-child estrangement, believes that the rift between family members could stem from a desire to have healthy relationships. If a parent is not accepting of their child’s sexuality, for instance, separation can be healing for those who are learning to accept themselves.

“There might be some cultural shifts around people being allowed to choose who is in your family. And that can include not choosing to have the person who raised you be in your family,” Reczek told The Hill.

Nowadays, people are more willing to end relationships, even with family members, if they are deemed unhealthy.

Pillener found that the breaking of familial bonds can stem from various factors such as harsh parenting, favoritism, differences in values, problems with in-laws, and disagreements over money.

According to Reczek’s study, cutting off blood relations can have possible negative effects on all parties involved.

“Given how many people report estrangement from parents, such estrangement may lower the well-being and life chances of both generations as they age due to the stress of an estranged tie,” according to the study.

On the other hand, estrangement can benefit the person who initiated the separation by eliminating the source of chronic stress.