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Posted on March 23, 2017 by Christine Crosby in 

Estrangements and Social Media

How Does Social Media Worsen Estrangements?

By Dr. Josuha Coleman

It used to be that estrangements between family members were done far more privately. Prior to social media, or even the rapid transmission from the internet, one could be estranged from a child and the only people who would hear about it might be whomever the parents wanted to tell, and the close circle of confidents of the estranged adult child. For all the anguish they caused, an estrangement could mean a fairly clean break, however painful, for both the parent and the child. People would cut off contact and perhaps never be heard from again unless they reconciled.

We are excited to announce that starting with the May/June issue of GRAND Magazine, Dr. Coleman will be a featured columnist. Get your free subscription here and don’t miss a single issue!

Sadly, social media, Facebook and blogs in particular, have stood all of that on its head. Social media allow the child to:

  • Broadcast their estrangement to the world eliciting the feedback of known others and perfect strangers
  • Shame and humiliate the parent in a very public way
  • Torment the parent by posting photos of the estranged child, their children, or other non-estranged family members, stepparents, or family friends
  • Hurt the parent by defriending them
  • List stepmothers or stepfathers as one’s family and not list the biological parent as family
  • In the case of adoptive parents, list only the birth mother as the mother and remove the adoptive mother as mother on the site
  • Hurt the parent by announcing such critical events as births, parties, or weddings through social media while not letting the parents know directly
  • Provide others with information to hurt or malign the estranged parent

In this Tuesday’s webinar, we’ll discuss this and address the following questions:

What are some of the most common ways that social media increases the pain of estrangement?

What are some of the common reasons that estranged children use social media in the context of estrangement?

What’s the role of guilt toward the parent and posting?

Why aren’t people’s responses to posts more objective?

Why might estranging oneself in the public light of social media be applauded by the viewers?

What are some common responses of parents when they see their children’s posts on Facebook or in blogs?

What is the evidence that we’re becoming more isolated and lonely despite the popularity of social media?

What’s the relationship between our value of self- determination, social media, and estrangement?

What’s the relationship between loneliness and frequency of Facebook posts?

What’s the relationship between Facebook use and narcissism?

What is the advantage or disadvantage of checking your child’s Facebook pages?  

Is it better to instruct your friends or family not to post on your child’s Facebook page or blog?

What’s the danger of privately checking on your child through the use of social media?

If you need help in this area, join us:



     When and How to Respond to Social Media          

 530 PM Pacific, 630 Mountain, 730 Central, 830 Eastern

Free Study Guide  Here

estrangementEditor’s Note:  We are excited to announce that starting with the May/June issue of GRAND Magazine, Dr. Coleman will be a featured columnist.

Dr. Joshua Coleman is an internationally known expert in parenting, couples, families, and relationships. His book, WHEN PARENTS HURT: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along (HarperCollins) was released in 2007. He is a frequent guest on the Today Show, he has also appeared on ABC 20/20, Good Morning America, the BBC, and numerous news programs for FOX, ABC, and NBC television. Dr. Coleman’s advice has been featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, The London Times, and many other publications. He is a Senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families and has a private practice in San Francisco and Oakland, California.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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