I'm just now catching with a lot of stuff going on on the interwebz and I have discovered this wonderful post by Lydia Sherman which I somehow missed.
In it, Lydia talks about the situation apparently common in many families where close relatives cut each other off, like in parents having no time for their children and vice versa. Of course, we all know that sometimes one has to make difficult choices to preserve peace, for instance when one's relatives keep attacking him/her and one's lifestyle choices, exercise bad influences over the children or present any form of danger because of antisocial activities they engage in.
However, in most run-of-the-mill families situation is hardly so dire that it requires total shunning of some of its members and I also believe it's not what Lydia really had in mind. What she was talking about is all-too-common modern phenomenon of people not having time for each other because they are too busy acquiring material possessions and engaging in all sorts of activities and pursuits.
It's like they never left high school because being the most popular guy/girl in town appears to be their top priority. They are so busy doing stuff and being cool and climbing social ladder and working and whatnot that they never ever have time for their relatives, even close ones. (And of course, spending time with the family, unless they are wealthy and important is viewed as "uncool".)
Modern people are taught to disregard the importance of blood ties, and yet, if one gets into trouble it's often one's family which is there for him, not the colleagues or the acquaintances he encounters in his social club once a week. That is not to say that friendship isn't important, it's really a blessing to have good friends, friends in need, yet to cultivate a real friendship one needs to invest time into it and, just like with relatives, many people don't have time to bother with building real life relationships, they prefer Facebook friends instead.
I believe this onslaught on the family is deliberate. A society of atomised individuals is easier to manipulate than a society consisting of strong families where relatives are eager to help each other. Contrary to what we are told, there is such thing as the voice of blood. You can live far away from your close relatives for years, and yet when you meet you quickly get accustomed to each other's company, as opposed to building a relationship with perfect strangers which takes time and effort.
You share the same DNA and the same bloodline. Extended family is or should be a natural safety net, and thus is in direct competition with welfare state. Constant attacks on extended and now also nuclear family are part and parcel of the war waged against nation-states, national sovereignty, European identity and our very existence.
I'm not saying that you should hang around with some cousins you can't stand just because they are family or allow your siblings to interfere into your own family affairs or keep lending money to some relative who never pays his debts. It's just however busy you are, don't forget to phone your parents/children this weekend. They may need you more than you think! And hanging out with cousins can be fun, too, provided you have some things in common...Don't forget that blood is thicker than water.