Interesting article for both sides
You might have seen this before .. but in doing research for this documentary, I came across this article that was from the NY Times in 1990!!!
Very interesting perspective from both sides...
also at the end I have posted a link to another interesting very relevant article that talks about family and its importance especially with current economic situation..
March 1, 1990
Parent & Child
By LAWRENCE KUTNER
LEAD: ''I HAVEN'T spoken to my parents in eight years,'' said Nancy S., who is 31 years old and lives with her husband and daughter in a suburb of Minneapolis.
''I HAVEN'T spoken to my parents in eight years,'' said Nancy S., who is 31 years old and lives with her husband and daughter in a suburb of Minneapolis.
''I was very close to them when I was growing up, but they just can't accept me as an adult,'' said Nancy, who asked that her full name not be used.
Nancy's unwillingness to be identified reflects the expectations that people have for parent-child relationships in adulthood. People who might speak freely and without embarrassment about their divorces, for example, worry what others will think of them if they say they are estranged from their parents or from their adult children.
It seems unnatural for a relationship that is expected to be lifelong to turn sour. It is often viewed as a failure by the people it happens to, and they wonder if they are the ones who have failed. Nancy frequently says that she is ''a good person,'' as if her relationship with her parents called that into question.
Mary W., also of suburban Minneapolis, and her husband have been estranged from his 20-year-old son for three and a half years. ''Other parents don't understand it at all,'' said Mary, who also asked that she not be fully identified. Although her stepson reluctantly agreed to accompany Mary and his father to a family therapy session, he refused to speak and sometimes threw tantrums, she said.
''Outsiders blame us,'' Mary said. ''Even other people in our family blame us. The psychologist we've seen for the past five years says that our son needs time to grow out of this. I honestly don't think that will happen.''
Dr. Bonnie J. Kin, a clinical psychologist, said that ''estrangements are much more common than most people realize.''
''I've seen a lot of people who've been estranged from their parents for more than five years,'' said Dr. Kin, who is also an associate professor of psychology at California State College in Dominguez Hills, a suburb of Los Angeles. ''They wonder if there's something wrong with them because they don't have that close attachment. A lot of people just don't talk about it.''
There are many reasons for severing the relationship, including physical or emotional abuse, an upsetting divorce or marriage, or a difference over fundamental values or religion. Nancy's family reflects the reason that researchers say is most common.
''This comes up when families try to shift their relationship from adult-child to adult-adult,'' said Dr. Jill S. Grigsby, an associate professor of sociology at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., who studies relations between young adults and their parents in several cultures.
For some families, the clashes that parents and their children have when they share a house as adults disappear when they live independently. For others, the old roles and perceptions are more firmly fixed and do not change.
Nancy said she felt the first tremors of a family breakup about a decade ago when she announced her wedding plans. Her parents had trouble accepting her adult roles as wife and mother.
''They don't like my husband, and they still spend time with my old boyfriend,'' she said. ''It's difficult for them not to think of me as a kid. When I got married, it was as if they'd lost their baby.''
Both she and her husband get along well with his parents, as does their 8-year-old daughter. ''She's never really known my parents,'' Nancy said. ''She doesn't ask about them.'' The barrier between grandchildren and grandparents that comes with such estrangements worries some psychologists. They say parents should pay close attention to the messages they are sending their own children.
''Grandchildren learn how to treat their parents by the ways in which they see their parents treat the grandparents,'' said Dr. Matti Gershenfeld, an adjunct professor of psychoeducational processes at Temple University in Philadelphia. She also teaches workshops on being an adult child and being the parent of an adult.
''If you're estranged from your parents, the odds are your children will become estranged from you once they become adults,'' Dr. Gershenfeld said. ''That's the model they're learning.''
Nancy has resigned herself to limiting her communication with her parents to little more than an annual Christmas card.
''It's become easier as time has passed,'' she said. ''Life's too short to be sad or angry all the time.''
The Ties That Keep On Binding
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS readily admit that not all estrangements between adult children and their parents can or should be patched up. But many effects of severing the relationship are not always obvious.
The relationship will continue in some form, even after the rift.
''You can only be physically estranged from your parents; you can't feel psychologically free from them,'' said Dr. Eleanor Mallach Bromberg, an associate professor in the school of social work at Hunter College in Manhattan.
''We battle with them in our minds even after they're dead,'' Dr. Bromberg said. ''That's the paradox for these people. They spend so much of their time avoiding things that remind them of their parents that they become even more involved psychologically with their parents.''
The split may have an effect on grandchildren.
Children who have no relationship with either set of grandparents not only may have more difficulties in later relationships with their parents, but may also lack self-esteem.
Dr. M. Duncan Stanton, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester, cited a study of adolescents and drug abuse. ''Those most at risk often had little sense of their family history,'' he said. ''Even who their grandparents were.''
If you do decide to rebuild the relationship, recognize that it will probably take a few tries.
''Issues of pride are often involved,'' Dr. Stanton said. ''Relatively minor or petty issues may have gotten out of control.'' He recommended asking other family members for support in making the changes. ''The more people who are involved, the better it's going to be,'' he said.
Respect each other as adults.
This is especially important if adult children feel they are being treated like teen-agers. One man felt that the last straw was when his mother came to his home and rearranged the things in his refrigerator, said Dr. Matti Gershenfeld, a psychologist at Temple University and the president of the Couples Learning Center in Jenkintown, Pa., outside Philadelphia.
''I told the mother to treat her son as if he were her next-door neighbor's son,'' Dr. Gershenfeld said. ''After all, you wouldn't go into that person's house and rearrange the refrigerator.''
Link to other article: