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5 Bumps

Leaving your child

Kind of odd coincidence the article in the CM question about daughters and divorce seemed to cross over into some of the discussion in my Bad Mothers class at school today. (class discussion is kind of skewed, though, because the current reading was written in the 1860's - about a woman who gets fed up and leaves her family)

But the discussion - if a woman leaves her husband and takes the kids, the kids grow up around their mother, but not their father. Likewise, if she leaves the kids, they grow up around their father, but not the mother (this is no turning back kind of leaving, not sharing custody). Are those kids more likely to see the absent parent as a bad parent outright, and compare them to an "ideal" parent, or are they more likely to have a skewed idea in general of what the role of that missing parent is - meaning a girl w/o a mother is less likely to have maternal instincts or vice versa a boy w/o a father.

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 4:58 PM on Sep. 13, 2010 in Parenting Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • well from the way my dh feels his father left when he was young and he didnt see him until he was in his teens when dh went looking for him. he feels even to this day that his mother was a horrbile mother and his father he feels is the same. so in his case he felt both parents were bad parents so it didnt matter who had the kids in his case.

    Answer by laura970 at 5:02 PM on Sep. 13, 2010

  • There is no easy answer to that. Anytime a parent is absent, things are made harder on the single parent & the children. Each child would handle that situation differently. Some could blame the parent that stayed for "making" the other parent leave. Some could just blame the parent that left. Personally, I could never walk out on my family- even at times I feel like running away from home!

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 5:03 PM on Sep. 13, 2010

  • Actually, I suspect that the child grows up with a distorted fantasy about the absent parent --they really love me, but they're international spies or wrongly convicted in a mexican jail, or required by some draconian will to avoid the family they married into or risk losing millions in inheritance...

    The stories kids tell to protect themselves from the trauma of abandonment tend to be extremely unrealistic, and the younger they are when they're abandoned the more bizarre and illogical the stories become.

    The age of the loss matters, a lot more than the gender of the parent who leaves. The presence of other important people of either gender can mitigate the effects on their future parenting --children who have a loving grandparent, aunt or uncle or good family friend (or parents of friends) can more than compensate for the absence of a parent --in the same way that loving others can make up for incompetence and neglect.

    Answer by LindaClement at 5:13 PM on Sep. 13, 2010

  • My mother left my father and my sister and I when I was 4 without notice. I think leaving your kids is inexcusable no matter what your going through with your husband. I was left to learn many things on my own and I had a hard time in my 20's dealing with not having a mother, but as far as being a good mother I think it depends on the person, my son is the most important part of my life, I would never leave him and I am a great mom, on the other-hand I don't think my sister was meant to be a mother or enjoys it.


    Answer by mom-de-uno at 11:10 PM on Sep. 13, 2010

  • bump

    Answer by AirForceWife412 at 11:29 PM on Sep. 13, 2010

  • It really depends. I'm a single mom and my son rarely sees his father. I have a feeling he will see his dad as the "bad" parent AND have a skewed idea of what fatherhood is. It's important for him and other kids in single parent homes to have role models from other families, so that they do know what role a mother or a father plays in a child's life..., in my son's case that won't necessarily remove the fact that he is likely to think badly of his own father, but at least he then has an idea of the role he can play in his own child's life.

    Answer by momofonelilguy at 12:10 AM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • I think it really depends on the picture that the custodial parents paints. If you tell your child that the absent parent just couldn't handle, don't know how to be a good parent, etc than the child is more willing to forgive.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 8:07 AM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • It really just depends on the situation. Divorce and separation is not the end of the world. In fact, it can be beneficial for the adults and the children. Staying in a marriage that is not filled with love, respect, and where the partners are not that what you want for your child's future marriage? If that is what is modeled that is what they will do later on - most likely. Stay when it is sour because it was shown to them this is the only way. I've seen marriages end wonderfully with the best interest of the children and marriages that were I'm going to get even and stick it to you. Of course the kids pay. As long as both parents keep in mind what is most important, then hopefully what is modeled will be healthy. You can't control what a child thinks. They may initially assign blame and label one parent as bad. But as long as you continue to maintain good boundaries, healthy relationships, are


    Answer by frogdawg at 8:47 AM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • respectful of each time that anger and hurt will subside and no parent will be left with the blame. Separation and divorce is what the adults make of it. Not what the children make of it. If a parent leaves without the child - that is hard. But I have told many children that it wasn't them, mom/dad did this because they loved them and thought that they were not good for their child right now. Or that mom/dad was ill and needs help. Nothing that the child did...all that good jazz. Most of the time, if they have love and support from the remaining parent, they do just fine. You can't erase the hurt they feel but you can ease the transition and be kind and respectful to the other parent. Even when you don't want to be kind or fair. You do it for your child.

    Answer by frogdawg at 8:51 AM on Sep. 14, 2010

  • I think that the damage done by missing parents is more than evidanced in today's society. Only since our culture has openly lauded single parenting and such that there has been a skyrocketing level of Homosexuality, Liberality in all area's and general confusion.. But 99% percent of this was all started by the FEMINIST MOVEMENT. Telling women that they were supposed to be like men, Act, Walk, Talk, Dress and Behave like men has confused things far too much. IT IS SAD.

    Answer by MAKEMYDAY101 at 2:35 PM on Sep. 14, 2010

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