When Mothers Leave – A Survey for Some of You

After completing a workshop on Father Hunger, which explains the long-term impact of the father’s absence after a divorce, I was asked, “What about when mothers leave?” I couldn’t answer. All the research I’d seen dealt with the impact on the kids after the fathers left. But I assured them I’d return with a wealth of helpful information.

That’s when I learned how little data was available on this topic. Even though authors like Jen Abbas (Generation EX: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain) and Stephanie Staal (The Love They Lost) experienced their mother’s departure, neither addressed it directly–and the issue has gone largely unnoticed in the world of research. So, my Masters thesis explores the impact of a mother’s departure on the children at the time, and after they grow up.

This is where you come in. The survey link below is for those whose mother left after the divorce—she was the non-custodial parent. If this is you, please complete this survey. If it is someone you know (sibling, friend, relative, coworker), please share this and encourage them to complete it.

I will summarize the findings of my thesis and the survey here when it’s complete.

Thanks for your help.

Survey – ACOD Whose Mother Left After Divorce


The Many Faces of Anger (Part 2)

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one1 – Benjamin Franklin

Our parents’ divorce caused many changes. Some we liked. Many we didn’t. But most were beyond our control. Whether visitation stopped us from going to a party, or we moved from our home and were forced to change schools, or we found ourselves suddenly sharing a room with a Anger Survey boxstep-stranger, choices were made that were beyond our control…and we were angry about it. Unfortunately, that anger is often carried into our adulthood. And anger is triggered in situations where we feel out of control.

Am I saying that our parents’ divorce is the cause of all of our anger? No. The combination of being self-centered and sinful beings with a world that throws us curves, is ripe for producing anger. However, research repeatedly confirms that unresolved anger is a major issue for children of divorce. And unresolved often means it accompanies us into our adult life.

anger cropped finalBattling my Anger
It was no secret that I had anger issues. What I didn’t learn (until many years later) was my folk’s breakup seemed to be at the root. I blamed my job, my wife, my kids, my schedule, and everyone and everything else for why I was angry. However, I learned that a raging fear of inadequacy, losing cherished time with my dad, and the lack of control over anything (along with many other things), formed a strong foundation for my anger.

The many faces of anger
In the “Many Faces of Anger” blog we saw that anger is often like a hand-puppet. It has an angry face, but it is controlled by the hand. In the case of the adult child of divorce the hand can be:

  • fear
  • feelings of inadequacy
  • the lack of control
  • guilt
  • hurt or a trauma
  • or learned from the parents

In regards to the last point, Proverbs 22: 24-25 says, “Keep away from angry, short-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.” Unfortunately, the “angry, short tempered people” are often our divorced parents. And, being a child, getting away from them was problematic. Consequently, it was easy to absorb anger simply by being exposed to it all the time.

What to do about your angerAdult children of divorced parents cover rodgers

  1. Admit you have a problem I flunked this step for too long – If others say you have an anger problem, you have an anger problem!
  2. Confess it as a sin against God – “Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”2
  3. Identify the causes. Review the list of anger-related books on our Resource page.
  4. Get help! –  It is very difficult to get rid of anger on your own. Seek a church leader, Christian counselor, or a Christian ministry that can help you address your anger issues. However, finding help can be as big a challenge as addressing the anger. So we’ll look at that next time.

2James 1:20, NLT.

What’s in a name? Research help needed please.

I’m conducting some research and need some help. I’m looking for people with the following criteria:

-Due to your mom’s remarriage, your last name was different than your mom and step-dad. (Your last name is Smith. Mom remarries so the household name is now Jones)

If this is you, please fill out the 6-question survey at the link below. If you know someone who has divorced parents, please share this page with them.

Click Here  for the survey.

Thanks for your help.

Should Divorced Parents Spend Time Together with the Kids on Holidays?

Dr. Robert Emery, in his book The Truth About Children and Divorce, lists ten tips for the holidays. Number 7 is:

“Consider celebrating part of the holidays together with your
children’s other parent, especially if your separation is fairly recent. Some
people are shocked when divorced families celebrate holidays or birthdays
together. Go ahead and shock them! ”

What do you think about this advice? Please take this short poll and let me know–and share this with a friend so I can get their input too. Thanks