As a somewhat preface to this article from Christian perspective, I wish to say that I am writing on this subject of child estrangement, due to its exponential increase in occurrence. Statistics confirm its sometimes-devastating effect on either or both the estranger and those whom are estranged by them. Following is a Bible quote, that is far from being the only one in The Holy Scriptures, on this very subject: (Luke 12:51-53, Jesus speaking) - "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.". Jesus, in giving his end-time prophecy sermon, found in Matthew’s Gospel, states this same thing, with Him adding in the passage, that there would be an increase in these behaviors extremely close to His Second Coming, (Matthew Chapter 24). While I wish to add a specific problem I had in youth, up to near middle age, I do so because it (porn viewing) is possibly the greatest problem facing mankind, to date, including Christians. I personally went to great lengths to hide my problem from my wife and children. It was my own “anxiety valve” so-to-speak from job problems, etc. However, other children and younger adults use this as a behavior for avoiding problems/others, that may involve other catalysts (to be named in a following paragraph) or may not involve them at all. Avoidance behaviors regardless, can occur due to anxiety disorders, stress and depression. The point being that estranging from loved ones may be their only catalyst of sorts, to escape their own disordered emotions. The point also being that there may be mixed reasons for estrangement or simply the desire for avoidance from one or more loved ones the estranger feels uncomfortable around.- - -

Some parents will see communication begin in-person, by phone or otherwise electronically (e-mail or texts), saying that after years of contemplation (sometimes far less time), an adult child is made aware of their father or mother having psychologically abused them during all of their homelife, and I’m supposing, on into their adult life as well. They may make it clear that no physical abuse of any kind, including sexual abuse, ever occurred; that it was rather an emotional abuse that harmed them – possibly one of negligence of their emotional needs (Does the reverse apply here as well?). They may state that this abuse is what caused them emotional problems, including anxiety disorders or clinical depression. This is for lack of better term “cause searching”, which can be partially true in some cases and fully true in others (in some cases an estranger may resort to lying). This scenario of emotional abuse or neglect, does occur, but this article is about a complete unawareness by parents as to what they might have done or not done to/for their child, to the point of anguishing to find an answer. One that is completely or partially withheld by a child (only having given a generalized answer). Debbie Pincus, MS LMHC, states: “Cutting off is a way people manage anxiety when they don’t know a better way. The love and caring are there; the ability to solve differences is not. You did not cause your child to turn away. That was her decision.” (verbatim quote applies to adult sons as well). This licensed mental health counselor also makes it clear that these are cases when physical and/or sexual abuse were not present.

The fact is however, that children might show a withdrawn, social type anxiety at a very early age. I attended counseling at two points in my own life (as recent as year-2019) and much earlier, at age 16, in the 1970’s and both female counselors stated that there are children who are born with anxiety and depressive disorders or a strong propensity toward them. Our response to this was to state very honestly to the last counselor in 2019, that when I was a toddler and seemingly even before that, I was already acting-out severe socially phobic behaviors. My counselor from age 16 and the recent one in my 50’s, both stated that personality disorders were not my problem (my wife being present). My parents were very concerned in my early life, but they felt it was a phase I would outgrow. At this point I need to mention that I did indeed have severe disordered anxiety (socially phobic and generalized) but it did not seem to manifest in me, as a full-blown problem, until I was about age 12. My first licensed Christian councilor said genetics play a major role in children having emotional imbalances. My mother also experienced them beginning early in life but not my dad. We saw this confirmed yet again on the David Muir nightly news program on the ABC network (10/8/2019), in which he said (very near verbatim): “Research has shown expecting or new mothers, who are highly stressed, anxious and/or depressed during or after pregnancy, can cause these emotional imbalances in their newborn children” (this fact is not to place the mother at fault). My own relief from these extremely unpleasant emotions, in whatever way they may have come to me, was pornography as previously mentioned. It gave me a temporary escape but also almost destroyed my life in my 30s. I’ve been fully delivered from that snare of Satan for many years, which may be the most common and strongest temptation he attacks people with, including Christians. “57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation.” (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005). Note, this was stated 14 years ago!

Statistics state that 7 out of 10 men become porn-addicted at some point during their lives. Statistics for women are at approx. 1 out of 6. Statistics can vary but usually in the upward direction because the stated statistics are from several years ago. According to a study published in The Journal of Adolescent Research, “About half (49 percent) of young adult women agree that viewing pornography is an acceptable way of expressing one's sexuality”. According to Conquer Series Ministries, “A survey conducted over the past five years revealed that 68 percent of Christian men and 50 percent of pastors view pornography regularly.” Hence, I James Lowrance, personally wrote a book to reach Christian men and women for help toward deliverance from this issue; which may or may not lead to estrangement toward others. Some people saw my authoring the book as being too open – my response: “I pray God you are kidding!!”. The quote from Conquer Series Ministries, continues saying, “but even more shocking is that 11 to 17-year-old boys reported being porn’s greatest users”. I personally never had attraction toward homosexual porn, and child porn was literally sickening to me (I never looked at it). I’m a Christian man and would never lie about such things. The Holy Spirit being witness to what I am stating. I literally see babies and small children as God’s greatest gift to us. They are not sexual; they are the innocence of God and their smiles and giggles bring more joy to me than anything else in this life, apart from fellowship with God. Other young adult estrangers use other pressure valves from chronic anxiety, in addition to that I have named, such as drugs, alcohol or extreme gaming addiction. This can eventually lead a child to develop beliefs, that their extreme discomfort in life is coming from a parent(s), or the former generation of older adults in general, who come between them and their escape valve. Interestingly a saying popularized in the 1960s was “Never trust anyone over 30.”. Their terrible struggle with disordered emotions is what leads them to beliefs and accusations in their own minds, which in-turn leads them to estrangement behaviors toward those they believe have withheld them in life, many times pointing to their patent(s) anxiety, stress or anxiety inducements. Parents inducing some stress toward their children (curfews, groundings, homework demands, etc.), is part of them learning how to handle problems in life, on their own; to exclude verbal, physical and actual psychological abuse. However, some kids and those entering/passing adult age, literally believe being coerced in balance and punished properly when needed, is parental abuse. It is not!

Regarding emotional abuses a child may believe were directed at them, once they have drifted apart from a parent or parents, they may eventually realize they placed wrong interpretations on such behaviors they believe parents have displayed emotionally toward them or around them. Children can believe their parents were not worthy mentally of giving them correct answers to most things (an attitude basically portrayed by kids from the 1950’s, increasingly to-date). But, on the part of parents, this may have been them trying not to come across as being know-it-alls and wanting to give their children the liberty to eventually think mostly on their own. I confessed to my own wife about my escapism valve having been the porn problem that ended (with God’s mighty help). It occurred not as an escape from family for those many years (since age 7, when forced to view it by two highly deviant, older neighbor boys) but as an escape from overwhelming problems in general. A child who has professed Christianity but who has never became solidly grounded in their faith, can result in harsh satanic attacks. They may know their parent’s Biblical stance and see it as an overboard, “church legalism” they begin to resent. I believe this places children and parents at odds with each other in many cases. I have asked God for general forgiveness for anything I might have done during my own children’s lifetime’s to-date (and specifically for mistakes I know I made), that might have caused them feelings of estrangement. None of these mistakes being verbal abuse or physical of any type and to my sincere knowledge, nor psychological either. It is valuable to get answers for estrangement but facing the true issue in my belief is what The Lord Jesus Christ would want us to do – only hearing specifics can do this. Until then, we can continue loving them from afar, along with the essential practice of praying for them and children born to them, fervently (their children mean grandchildren to us). Hoping with one’s strongest hope that reconciliation and true family love will be restored and that doors of communication reopen and remain open, to head-off possible future problems, leading again to partial or complete estrangement.

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Author's Bio: 

I am a graduate of Liberty University (1996) for completion of theological studies. Bible studies are one of my most-covered book-subjects. I was a Christian Youth Minister and ministered in classes for young married adults, beginning in the 1983 for approximately 20 years. Between and during youth ministries I served in other church capacities as well). I was also a guest speaker to churches, who invited me to present important Bible teachings to their evangelical congregations, during those same years. My wife and I held Church Services at Senior Living Centers, during those same time periods as well. We're "born again" believers in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"