The issue of child abandonment is a serious and very emotionally charged subject. The news is full of stories where parents have abandoned their children, left them home alone to fend for themselves or have taken advantage of the new laws allowing for legal abandonment. Dropping the children off at local hospitals, and fire and police stations. All these stories stir us on a deep emotional level.
What if the child in question is not a minor? What happens when an adult child, with full mental and physical capabilities, and means to gainful employment is abandoned by a parent? Nothing.
We could argue whether or not it is technically abandonment by definition because adult children are autonomous. They no longer need us to provide support and we are no longer required to give it. But much more than physical abandonment is the emotional issue. Simply because you don’t have to be a part of your children’s lives, should you feel morally bound to do so.
Being a parent myself, I can’t imagine there ever being a time that I would not want to be actively participating in my children’s lives. I can’t see me missing birthdays and holiday celebrations and not wanting to be there to be a grandparent in later years.
While I might not be a professional in the field of human relations, I am a child who has been “abandoned” by a parent. While I have no idea how common this phenomena is, I know of at least 3 other adult friends who have little or no contact with one or more of their parents.
Two of these have very little contact and only the most superficial relationships with the parents in question. Two, myself included, have at least one parent who has severed all ties completely.
You probably wonder what causes a parent to do such a thing. Differences of opinions, lack of like interests, selfishness? I would have to say the reasons are as varied as the people involved.
What causes a parent to view their child as a mere acquaintance or as a disposable relation?
I would venture to say that in some cases, toxic relationships can push someone to sever all ties. I doubt this is always the case though. I can say though that in ALL these cases that I am personally familiar with, the adult children come from divorced homes. In all the cases the mothers had primary custody. Perhaps we should consider the possibility that these relationships were doomed to failure from the start because of the lack of growth and attention they received during our childhood years.
Certainly not all children of divorce are faced with a parent who refuses to have a relationship with them. There are obviously deeper, more personal, issues involved.
From my personal observations, the reasons aren’t always obvious as to why a parent decides to cut you out of their life. Most of us are wondering what happened? What did we do to make this happen? I would be easier if we could let our expectations go as to how a parent should behave towards us, but it is hard to let go of those hopes.