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Question about WordPress Parent theme vs Child theme

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A former developer I worked with on the past made customizations on child theme, but some of the code was placed on functions.php parent theme, he then placed all his code back on child theme, now a recent parent theme update destroyed all modifications from parent theme functions.php file.

he says it not possible to overwrite his customizations on child theme alone, since they are beyond styles. I read on wordpress documentation that when extensive customizations – beyond styles and a few theme files are made, it is a better option than a child theme to create a parent theme in order to avoid the kind of issues I am facing.

My question:

a. is it possible in your experience that a child theme cannot overwrite certain functionalities from parent theme and if that is the case, there is nothing to do about that ? an alternative one could write code on parent theme and risk losing it all when update comes around.

c. it´s always possible to overwrite any functionality using child theme no matter how extensive customizations are.

I would appreciate your insights,
Thank you!

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