Why Do So Many Children Cut Ties with Their Parents?

5 mins read

More and more children are breaking away from their parents. It seems that by doing so, they manage to live their own lives more peacefully. But it is not always the best option for overcoming differences, conflicts or disagreements.

Why Do So Many Children Cut Ties with Their Parents? 1

It seems that more and more children are cutting ties with their parents. At the moment, there is no official data or figure, but there is talk in forums, clinics and media articles that this phenomenon is on the rise.

Apparently, this is especially prevalent in Western countries and is more pronounced in high-income countries.

One of the few studies available on this topic is the research conducted by Professor Karl A. Pillemer. He is chair of Human Development at Cornell University (USA). This study notes that many people today cut ties with their parents and other family members. This is not a normal departure that comes with adult life, but a breaking of the bond for extremely different reasons.

Why do children break with their parents?

Professor Pillemer noted that there is a lack of research on children who break ties with their parents today and on family alienation in general. That is why in 2020 conducted a survey in the United States.

The results showed that one in four Americans had cut ties with a family member. This was recorded in Karl A. Pillemer’s book Fault Lines: Broken Families and How to Fix It.

A similar survey was conducted in the United Kingdom, and the results were extremely similar: one in five respondents had cut some family ties.

Similar surveys were later conducted in Canada and Australia. Again, the data obtained was really similar. In fact, there was talk of an ‘epidemic’ of family separations in both countries.

In addition, it is clear that online support groups are multiplying for people who have decided to distance themselves from their families. Many of these groups have children who have lost touch with their parents and have no intention of rebuilding them. However, there are no equivalent studies in countries outside the English-speaking world.

Why Do So Many Children Cut Ties with Their Parents? 2

Why does this phenomenon appear?

Another researcher approaching this topic is Dr. Joshua Coleman. According to his assessment, acts of violence are some of the most decisive factors in children’s decision to cut ties with their parents.

As a rule, there are some incidents of violence from the past, sometimes reproduced in the present and leading to the rupture of family ties. Such situations refer to physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual violence.

However, adult children don’t want to tolerate the same abusive situations they experienced as children. At the same time, they themselves can be aggressive, which speeds up the separation.

Another factor that contributes to these situations is that the parents are divorced and have a new family. In fact, many people are unable to adapt to this situation and therefore decide to cut ties with one or both parents.

Values: a very important issue

It has been discovered that another factor affecting the phenomenon of children breaking their ties with their parents is values. In fact, Dr. Coleman noted that one in three mothers who stay away from their children claim that this issue is one of the most relevant reasons.

This is consistent with the conclusions reached by Karl A. Pillemer. He pointed out that there are three dimensions in which a radical distance can arise between parents and children. These are sexual diversity, religious beliefs, and alternative lifestyles. Political polarization also has a lesser impact.

Most children who cut ties with their parents think it’s a good decision for everyone involved. In fact, this reduces conflicts. On the other hand, there are many who experience this as a loss and regret not being able to get along with their family.

Perhaps this is not about the differences between one and the other, but rather about the lack of the ability to process conflicts. It’s worth remembering that arguments and displays of affection are always good ways to manage disagreements and heal wounds. In fact, although unfortunately sometimes unavoidable, leaving is not always the best option.


The ancient idea tries to provide the most accurate information to its readers in all the content it publishes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.