Before reading the article:
Do you know anyone who doesn’t speak to his or her parents, or siblings? What is that person’s story, and what do you think about it?
How common do you think family estrangement is, and what are some of the reasons behind it?
Now, read the article, “Debunking Myths About Estrangement,” and answer the following questions:
1. What have researchers discovered about family estrangement over the last five years?
2. How is estrangement defined?
3. What countries are focusing on estrangement research, and what are the details of those studies?
4. What are two myths about estrangement mentioned in the article, and what are the facts and discoveries that debunk those myths?
5. What are the three main reasons adults report being estranged from parents?
Finally, tell us more about what you think:
Do you think reconnection and reconciliation should be a goal in cases of family estrangement? If so, why? If not, why not?
How does social media complicate or ease family estrangement, and why?
For more from The Times on the topic, see “Negotiating Conflicts, Part 1: Family Grudges,” from 2013, and “In the Facebook Era, Reminders of Loss After Families Fracture,” from 2012.