How do we explain the changes in intergenerational relations in China’s rural areas? The author puts forward a framework for the explanation through the angle of the division of property and of family ethics. The traditional model of the division of family property is centered on the inheritance of land, from which was derived the principle of “maintenance” which forms the core of family ethics, thereby making up the traditional system of “ inheritance—maintenance.” Since 1949, changes in land rights and the rise of market economy have changed this system fundamentally. The reproduction of family ethics is no longer possible and the elderly face a big crisis in old-age maintenance. Meanwhile, young and middle-aged parents have abandoned the traditional expectation of old-age maintenance by their children, and have sought to accumulate wealth separately and independently, purchased old-age insurance, and have formed new ideas of old-age maintenance. Pushed by this new idea, the division of property has become more and more rational. In general, the process of intergenerational relationship in rural China has gone from equilibrium to disequilibrium to a new equilibrium.