Son’s wives common source of family conflict

Family|December 12th 2015

The most common source of conflict and estrangement in families is tension between parents and their son’s wife, according to new research.

A new Cambridge University study on family rifts also indicates that fallings out between parents and sons typically last longer than those with daughters. Over 800 people were surveyed by the university’s Centre for Family Research about the causes and effects of estrangement.

Researchers collaborated with Stand Alone, a charity which specialises in helping adults through family rifts. They found that children are five times more likely to cut off contact with their parents than the other way around.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a vast majority of respondents who have experienced an estrangement in the family – 90 per cent – said Christmas was a particularly difficult time of year. However, 80 per cent of those surveyed claimed they had experienced some positive outcomes, such as increased feelings of independence and freedom.

Stand Alone chief executive Becca Bland said that while unconditional love is the ideal, “this is not always attainable for those who are estranged from their family or a family member”.

Society must “keep listening to people in this position” in order to properly understand “why our adult family relationships are not always as unconditionally close and supportive as we might wish and imagine them to be”, she added.

The full report is available here.

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