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30 Sad Songs about Broken Relationships with Parents

This is a list of 30 songs about broken relationships with parents. They’re mostly sad and some are angry, but they’re all great songs to listen to if you’re going through or have gone through a difficult time with your parents.

songs about broken relationships

They say that you can’t choose your family, but sometimes you get lucky and you happen to get a good one. The songs on our list show what happens when the opposite is true.

Here is a list of some of the best songs about broken relationships with parents ever made:

  1. Joyner Lucas – Like A River ft. Elijah James

He said he wouldn’t write a song but damn he did! The pain was too intense to conceal, and the harm was too genuine to ignore.

Joyner Lucas’ poisonous connection with his father is depicted in this masterpiece. A piece of raw and passionate music that tells of the pain, the mental anguish that Lucas underwent trying to get his father’s attention to no avail.

His father abandoned him in foster care and divorced his mother. He then went on to have another family. When Lucas started music and there were signs of incoming success, his dad was even jealous of him.

Joyner Lucas ultimately resolves to lift the standard and do things differently with his son since that is what a father is supposed to do!

  1. Christina Aguilera – Hurt

Sometimes even the children fail to understand that their parents are also human. They, too, make mistakes and deserve another chance.

When children grow up hating their parents and not understanding them, the unavoidable occurs and they are taken away from us—it is then that the immensity of anguish hits you like a wave of an unforgiving tsunami.

You long for their voice and touch, and you want to apologize one final time for failing to grasp their situation. But then you realize they’re no longer there. So, what now? – Just pour yourself a drink, sit back on the couch, and let Christina Aguilera say the words for you.

They are listening from a place of serenity, and believe me, they comprehend more than you can fathom!

  1. Kelly Clarkson – Because Of You

Some painful childhood events are difficult to articulate since you have a roof over your head and food on your plate.

Your parents worked hard for you and did not forsake you, but they were not present emotionally, and you never acquired the emotional security you needed to grow into a full and happy adult.

All of those petty arguments, hatred, chaos, and anxiety ripped a giant hole in your heart, and who would you hold accountable? My heart bleeds every time I come to this song because I see so many people like that little girl in the video.

  1. Everclear – Father Of Mine

It’s staggeringly sad and breaks my heart to see how many people can relate to this song. And, in honor of Father’s Day, let us all pledge to be there for our children, unlike the fathers who abandoned us.

This is an honest story about a father who was around for a while before deciding to vanish into the blues, never to be seen again, leaving a trail of some deep hole inside his children’s hearts that can never be filled by anything else!

The lines, “I will never be sane, I will always be weird inside, I will always be lame” hit the raw nerves and especially for those who watched their dads depart from their lives without even saying goodbye!

  1. Bruce Springsteen – Adam raised a Cain

The lyrics, “Daddy worked his whole life, for nothing but the pain, now he walks these empty rooms, looking for something to blame, you inherit the sins, you inherit the flames…” tells you everything you need to know about this raw masterpiece that burns with authentic passion- this is for those dads who were not involved in their kids’ lives expect maybe for the financial part and once their children departed from them, they hold no peace inside!

This track is just flat-out raw, with an intensity I’ve never heard matched in any other artist’s song.

  1. Sia – Elastic Heart feat. Shia LaBeouf & Maddie Ziegler

One of the most beautiful music videos ever, depicting the struggle between a father and a daughter; brilliantly done, and many have experienced it, much like Sia’s damaged connection with her father.

Where you try and fail to save them from themselves- and how the words fit so nicely in the gaps of our lives- will benefit so many people who have had such strained relationships with their fathers.

The perfect representation of the quote, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” Because that’s exactly what this video and song do.

One of the most beautiful songs about broken relationships with parents I have ever seen. It’s moving. Sia is a magnificent singer beyond words.

Let this song comfort your hurting heart!

  1. P!nk – Family Portrait

Can we go back to how it was? Play pretense of a happy family again because that’s what we are good at?

So many parents don’t realize how divorce and fighting in front of their kids affect them when they don’t even know what’s going on.

2022 and the nostalgia never ends! This song, along with Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You,” became anthems for children of divorced or separated parents.

Those two songs about broken relationships with parents still hit me square in the feels. Childhood trauma is the most damaging, and I wish parents were more sensitive to their children’s emotional needs, even through the inevitable difficult times, so they could avoid inflicting so much unnecessary pain on their children.

  1. Lil Wayne – How To Love

This is more than the music, this is a story that tells a two-sided story of a mother who decides to get a child but then finds themselves in an abusive relationship and they cannot replicate the love for their kid since they never had it growing up and are not getting it now (deciding rather on going on a rampage of self-destruction!).

“How To Love” is an emotional piece and one of the deepest-hitting broken relationship songs Tunechi has ever put out there.

It’s very wonderful how, as children, we simply liked the way it sounded, but as we grew older, we began to truly get it- such is the power of art, sometimes it just grows on you over time.

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  1. John Mayer – Daughters

The truth is that many fathers damaged their daughters’ hearts long before any man- and unfortunately, this is just the sad reality.

This poignant song aims to heal the shattered relationship between parents, particularly fathers, and their daughters. To permanently end this cycle of pain!

On behalf of every man looking out for every girl and especially their daughters, this one is for you. You are the god and the weight of their worlds. So, fathers, please be good to your daughters because daughters will love as much as you do!

 

  1. Madonna – Oh Father

Madonna the queen of pop took us to her childhood when her mother died, and she was disconnected from her father.

This song is great lyrically, as it relates the story of escaping physical and mental abuse from a parent.

There’s something about that turn she makes when she’s leaving her dad. The little shadow girl on the wall juxtaposed against the powerful woman in the snow, “never felt so good about myself”- what an inspiration for all survivors. Here is where all the tables turn. Here is where the survivor is born. “Maybe someday when I look back I’ll be able to say you didn’t mean to be cruel, somebody hurt you too…” that line hits home in so many vulnerable ways!

  1. NF – Let You Down

“Let You Down” is a polished and tear-jerking emotional tune depicting the pain of growing up with a father who doesn’t care for your existence. No matter what you try to do, you’ll never get their approval and it is a sad state to be in, not only physically but mentally.

To all the victims, just remember that you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, more intelligent than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know. You will undeniably fall in love with that subtle beat in the background when he raps.

The lyrics are so relatable and will put you to tears. This guy has lived through life and life has loved through him.

Keep on sharing wisdom champ!

 

  1. Grlwood – I Hate My Mom

Her apparent hatred and sadness in her voice is heartbreaking.

This serves as a daily reminder to everyone that just because she’s your mother doesn’t mean you have to love her. Terrible moms exist, and they should be treated as such.

The cry at the end gets me every time… no kid wants to hate their parent; they’re driven to that point. Even so, you can’t help but feel guilty- it’s just the way things are! When you’re having a heated dispute with your mother, this song hits home.

Playing this song nonstop on Mother’s Day is just another level of unrelenting hatred!

  1. The Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm

The agony of being neglected and abused by those who are supposed to protect you is far too great for anyone to bear.

I applaud all parents who make sacrifices to guarantee that their children have better childhoods than they did. You guys are my heroes!

This song still feels as fresh now as it did in the 1990s, and we, the broken children of the 1990s, greet 2022 with open arms (no irony intended!).

I was 17, playing my guitar and singing “Disarm” from the depths of my adolescent vulnerability; 10 years later, hearing this song transports me back in time—such a timeless gem!

  1. Demi Lovato – World Of Chances

This song is about her painful relationship with her father, and you can hear the pain in her voice. When I was a kid, I loved the “Here We Go Again” album (I was a major Demi fan), but I never paid any attention to this song.

I can understand the words a lot better now that I’m older, and I notice a lot more emotions than I used to. It will strike a chord with anyone who has grown up with abusive, absentee, or alcoholic parents who refuse to change despite being given numerous chances to do so!

  1. Martina McBride – Concrete Angel

Sometimes while listening to this song, I came across a perfect saying that is appropriate for the emotions present in this song; “Every child deserves a parent but not every parent deserves a child!” This is so true and sad at the same time.

Rest in peace to all the precious, sweet innocent angels who lived only a short amount of time on this earth and experienced so much suffering and abuse at the hands of the ones who brought them into this world- their parents!

No child should ever experience those things and have their lives ripped from them at such a young age- it’s horrible!

  1. Eminem – My Mom

“I know you probably tired of hearin’ bout my mom”- me once a week at my therapists! He well documents the hate Eminem had for his mother in various songs and interviews he did and this particular song was not dissing in any way; this is pure rage and sadness that comes from your mother not loving you the way she should.

It’s an acute type of pain that comes out… however, it does! This is what it sounds like for Eminem. When your mom was a person you loved but wanted to be nothing like, and you realize, that you’re just like her!

There’s nothing in this world more debasing than that. And the fact you never will escape her, because she’s indebted to everything you do and every problem you have is the worst feeling there is!

  1. Carrie Underwood – Little Toy Guns

Bearing the burden of a secret storm, children are the most affected when their parents fight (physically and emotionally!).

The emotional storm is too much for the little angles to handle and that is why I hold that if everybody in the world listened to this song, then our world would be way less hurtful.

And does anyone else just wanna run sometimes… run away from it all. Just run and never look back, parents, bullies, fighting, just run from it! And also people don’t give Carrie nearly as much credit as she deserves- she is such a gem!

  1. John Michael Montgomery – The Little Girl

I’m emotionally stable, yet this song makes me cry—I get teary-eyed every time I hear it because I know kids who live this life. Because of abusive and drug-addicted parents who love to quarrel and generate havoc every day, their lives are nothing more than broken shells of mystery.

This is such a powerful song; artists don’t make songs about broken relationships with parents, powerful anymore! This song makes me want to hold my children closer because it is a reality for so many other children out there. Just by listening in, you feel compelled to rescue every one of the children caught up in this unwelcome tempest and provide them with a safe haven. Lord Jesus help us!

  1. Demi Lovato – For the Love of a Daughter

“Please father put the bottle down for the love of a daughter, don’t you remember I’m your baby girl”- this line hits hard and sends a flood of emotional tears; this is exactly how it feels to have an alcoholic father, but you still love him and can’t let him go.

Demi deserves a lot of respect and admiration for writing such an emotive and intimate song to which many children of abused and neglected parents can identify and recover. And shoutout to the girls whose fathers broke their hearts before any teenage boys ever could!

  1. Eminem – Cleanin’ Out My Closet

Everyone knows there was no love lost between Eminem and his mom and this is one raw and passionate piece of craft where he details all his pains and hates towards his mom who was never there for him in any way.

For anyone who grew up with a dysfunctional mother, this track right here hits home for them! We always hear about respecting your parents and people always glorify their mothers above all but to hear someone express their trauma from their mother was so refreshing to many people growing up.

These lyrics are his truths, his story, his emotions, and his life. How cathartic it must have been to get this all out! You can feel the pain through the words he wrote. Not many people are willing to discuss the skeletons in their closet, and every family has them- this is why Eminem is one of the greatest rappers still alive today!

More heart-wrenching Sad Songs songs about broken relationships with parents:

21. Kelly Clarkson – Piece By Piece
22. Demi Lovato – Shouldn’t Come Back
23. Ellie Goulding – Your Biggest Mistake
24. Eminem – Headlights
25. Lindsay Lohan – Confessions Of A Broken Heart 
26. Owl City – This Isn’t The End
27. Sky Ferreira – Sad Dream
28. Lily Allen – He Wasn’t There
29. Sufjan Stevens – Romulus
30. Simple Plan – Perfect 

 

Final Thoughts: Songs about Broken Relationships with Parents

We won’t lie to you, finding songs about broken relationships with parents was no easy feat.

Whether they simply didn’t want to share their woes or maybe it’s just that these kinds of stories are taboo in the music industry, many artists are hesitant to talk about it.

That being said, we still managed to find 30+ songs about broken families. Some are more transparent than others when it comes to the lyrics, but all have unique and powerful messages. Hopefully, our list has helped put some light on some rarely told stories.

 

Written By

Founder of Tunepical, a blog dedicated to sharing my love of music with you. I believe that music is the key to life, and if you're listening to the right songs at the right time, everything is possible!

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