When Mothers Leave – What the Research Shows

What is the impact on the children when the mother is the non-custodial parent after the divorce?
This question was raised at a presentation I gave on Father Hunger. I assured the inquirers I’d get back to them with what I found. However, I learned there was not much to be found. Consequently, this became the topic of my Master’s Thesis.

For those of you with mothers who left after the divorce, not much data addresses your dilemma. The attached thesis gives  some information, but much more research is necessary. Until that happens, I welcome your thoughts, opinions, concerns, and whatever else you feel necessary for us to know about your experience in this area. Also, please remember God wants to heal the hole or wound your mom may have created.

The Bible says, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15) and, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10). The researchers may be way behind on this issue, but God isn’t.

The Impact of Non-Custodial Mothers Thesis – Kent Darcie

 

 

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Is it Okay to Lie? Part 1

How was your weekend with your dad?” Fair question—unless your parents are divorced. Then the question’s safety rating matches, “Honey, have I put on weight?” Answering the “weekend” question is easy if you had a lousy weekend. But if it went well, or worse, you had a good time, you can learn at a young age that truth is not always a virtue.child choosing between two parents

Maintaining the status quo in different parental orbits often requires one “truth” at your house and another “truth” at your other parent’s place. Half-truths, distorted truths—lies by any other name—become a reinforced peace-maintaining tool. So we answer Mom’s question with:
“The weekend was a drag, Mom. Shelly is so annoying.”
Oh I’m sorry to hear that,” your mother says. However, the polygraph needle would break off at this point. But peace has triumphed over truth…or has it?

Years later the pattern continues in your marriage.
Is it okay if my girlfriend, Tammy, comes over this weekend?
NO! NO! NO! NO! And again NO!  She is a bad influence, rude, and puts me down all the time!!!!”…you think. But “sure” flows from your lips. But why?

highway sign trust vs fear pngFear is usually the culprit. Early on, fear that Mom would be upset if she knew the truth about your fantastic weekend Dad. Then, fear that your friends would reject you if you didn’t agree with them. Later, fear you’d fail your class if you didn’t adjust to your Prof’s quirky requirements. And soon, fear you’d lose your job if your real feelings came out. Fear your girlfriend or boyfriend would abandon you unless you agreed with everything followed. Finally, you’ve come full circle and fear your spouse will split if you don’t keep the peace. So Tammy stays…and you’re dying inside.

Fear is a cruel taskmaster, and lies have a habit of hurting the receiver and the giver. But is it really lying when you’re just trying to keep the peace? Jesus said, “Let your Yes be yes and your ‘No,’ ‘No’.”1 However, adult children of divorce often say “yes” when we want to say “no” and vice versa. Fear drives this, but lying over time becomes habitual.

Answer these questions:Me by Agron Istrefi  Mirror

  • When was the last time I said “yes” to something when I really wanted to say “no”? (or vice versa)
  • What is the real reason I responded that way?
  • Was that situation typical of how I respond? At home, at work, at play?
  • Is how I felt when I wasn’t truthful reminiscent of a situation in my childhood?

If lying is in your toolbox you’re not alone. But Proverbs 6:16-17 tells us God hates a lying tongue.
“So what am I supposed to do?” We’ll look at that in Is it Okay to Lie – Part 2.

1Matthew 5:37
Mirror image: “Me” by Agron Istrefi

The Best Graduation Gift? Stop Your Plan to Divorce!

Graduation season is coming and all across this nation seniors, like yours, are looking ahead to new friends, sweatshirts with the school logo, and RamenThere Will Be No Divorce by Lis Ferla noodles. However, unbeknownst to them, and your child, you (and possibly your spouse too) are waiting for them to leave so you can divorce and move on to “the happiness you deserve.”

While you may be miserable and want out, please don’t think this is “the best” or good for your child. Why? Take this quick true/false quiz

T/F     Because they are older, the divorce won’t affect them as much.
False. Divorce at this age makes “trust” and “loyalty” a myth and destroys the strong family foundation they need to launch into life from.

T/F     Because they are older, things won’t change that much since they will be away anyway.
False. Think about the first two times your son or daughter will be home from college: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Things won’t change?

T/F      Because they are older, they’ll understand that you don’t deserve to live an unfulfilled and unhappy life.The Graduate [3] by Rik Ruff remixed
False. They will be confused, hurt, angry, and wear the burden of guilt that you stayed in a miserable relationship because of them.

T/F      Because they are older, there won’t be any significant impact on your son or daughter’s future relationships.
False. Your divorce increases the odds of your kids divorcing up to 200% compared to you staying together and working it out.1

So what should you do?
First, confess to God the anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred you have for your spouse. Jesus said to love your enemy and pray for those who spitefully use you, but He was not referring to staying in a home where physical abuse is occurring or you and the kids are in danger. But, let’s face facts, most divorces don’t involve abuse. They have one or two spouses who are tired and have given up trying anymore.

love_and_respect logoSecond, go to a marriage seminar or retreat. Did you know the majority of people that divorce don’t seek any help other than from their friends? Also did you know “Unhappily married adults who divorced or separated were no happier, on average, than unhappily married adults who stayed married.”2 And “Two out of three unhappily married adults who avoided divorce or separation ended up happily married five years later.”2

Family life weekend to remember revisedSo get help. Marriage retreats I recommend include “Love and Respect” and “A Weekend to Remember” by FamilyLife, but there are many other solid Christian weekends that can rekindle the lost flame. And if your spouse won’t go, go by yourself. Take the initiative to give the best graduation gift your child will ever receive – happy parents that stayed married.

Do you know of friends whose parents divorced after they left for college? Please comment below.

1 Wolfinger, N. H. (2005). Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages. New York: Cambridge University Press.
2Browning, Don, et al. Does divorce make people happy?: Findings from a study of unhappy marriages. New York: Institute for American Values, 2002.

Images
“There Will Be No Divorce” by Lis Ferla
“The Graduate [3]” by Rik Ruff

Please Cancel the Divorce Test – (Annual Divorce Day is Here)

The month of November includes the special days of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. December hosts Christmas. January gets Annual Divorce Day.1 This year it will probably be Monday the 5th.

Lawyers (and counselors) know that January has been the biggest month for divorce inquires for years. But why does this annual phenomenon occur now? Three reasons:women pondering divorce wiki how
1) The spouse failed the holiday divorce test. The holiday divorce test plays out like this:  “If things don’t improve over Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m filing for divorce.
2) Only Scrooges divorce during the “the most wonderful time of the year” holidays. Consequently, the divorce paperwork or lawyer’s number is hidden in a drawer until after the New Year.
3) (And this is the tragic one), The wife (60 – 70% of the filings will be by the wife) didn’t try to get outside help. The hurting spouse believes the lie that they’re the only couple experiencing marital problems and/or their marriage is too far gone. But this is rarely the case.

And here’s why, (excluding cases of physical abuse) after the divorce, the freed spouse is going to make a lot of effort to do all the stuff (dressing up, being considerate and patient, tolerating differences, etc.) for the new relationship. They don’t realize that if they took those steps now, things would probably change. Same effort, but no years of dealing with an ex-spouse, angry kids, or antagonistic step-kids.

So if I’ve been describing you or a friend, please check out these resources,

Jesus said, “With God, all things are possible.2Seek Him, and guidance from God’s Word during this difficult time. Pray for God to do a healing work in yourself, your spouse, your kids, and your marriage. And have others praying too. Try one or all of the resources listed above. You, your kids, and your marriage is worth it!

 

1Sarah O’Grady, Annual Divorce Day is here: 1 in 4 parents thinking of splitting. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/549758/Quarter-of-parents-considering-divorce.
2Matthew 19:26b.KJV.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” for Adult Children of Divorce

by Kent Darcie

For some, the words of this carol (ACD style) are true. For many, the words reflect ideas that seem far beyond reality. Regardless of where you are today, here are five ways you can make next year’s Christmas season better!ChristmasTree with presents png 75

  1. Remember, “With God, all things are possible.”1  Make sure your efforts to change things are bathed in prayer and guided by scripture.
  2. Commit to learning how your parents’ divorce is affecting you and your relationships.
  3. Take intentional steps to heal and change by using the tools on our Resources Page.
  4. Make a New Year’s resolution that this version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” will be true for you next year!
  5. Let me know of your commitment so I can pray for you. I can be reached at acdministries@gmail.com.

The Twelve Days of Christmas for Adult Children of Divorce

On the first day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the second day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
A loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the third day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the fourth day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
a home filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

star and mangerOn the fifth day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the sixth day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
Growing in my trusting
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the seventh day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
Living with forgiveness
Growing in my trusting
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the eighth day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
Dealing with my anger
Living with forgiveness
Growing in my trusting
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the ninth day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
Healing from my sorrow
Dealing with my anger
Living with forgiveness
Growing in my trusting
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheerfamily praying together

On the tenth day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
Love among my siblings
Healing from my sorrow
Dealing with my anger
Living with forgiveness
Growing in my trusting
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the eleventh day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
Parents who are speaking
Love among my siblings
Healing from my sorrow
Dealing with my anger
Living with forgiveness
Growing in my trusting
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

On the twelfth day of Christmas, these things I’m thankful for
God’s faithful guidance
Parents who are speaking
Love among my siblings
Healing from my sorrow
Dealing with my anger
Living with forgiveness
Growing in my trusting
A peaceful heart
Home that’s filled with love
My great kids
Loving spouse or friend
And a day filled with Christmas cheer

1Matthew 19:26, New King James Version.

AdultChildrenofDivorce.net Merry Christmas

Divorce is no Big Deal? Amy Poehler on Divorce

Unfortunately, two years ago Amy Poehler’s marriage ended. I found her description of divorce accurate and sad. “Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then Amy-Poehler--tv-guide-webtossing the whole thing up in the air.” “The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”1   My heart goes out to Amy and all those who have walked the divorce road, but from the perspective of children of divorce, her poignant comment is incomplete.

Divorced Parents arguing ACDA full description of a divorce from the perspective of the Adult Child of Divorce would read, “Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air.” “The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.” Then we watch Mom and Dad  take turns jumping up and down on the stuff on the blanket. 

Most adults with divorced parents are deeply aware of the truth of this. Hopefully those who believe divorce is no big deal would take a good close look at the picture Amy’s adjusted quote paints. Millions of yet-to-be children of divorce hope their parents will take this image to heart, and give their marriage a second look and a real second effort to save it.

Considering divorce? Please click here for some basic info on the impact of the decision. Thanks.
Need marriage help? Please click here for a remarkably simple, but powerful tool for turning your marriage around.

 

1http://www.bustle.com/articles/44144-this-amy-poehler-quote-about-divorce-hits-the-nail-right-on-the-head

 

Voice of the Child of Divorce

This video shows a young boy with a powerful message about the effect of divorce. It was created by Monica Epperson who experienced five parental divorces before she graduated from high school. Understandably, she shares my passion to break the cycle of divorce. Please click here and take a couple minutes to see this gripping video.abandoned boy

I’m starting to hear the “you don’t deserve to get ripped off” divorce commercials. The lawyers are gearing up for the January/February surge. If you or someone you know are considering divorce, please look at this video and the considering divorce tab on this site. Your kids and your future grandkids will thank you.

Monica Epperson is the CEO and Co-founder of THE CHILD OF DIVORCE which can be found at http://www.thechildofdivorce.com.