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Divorcing Your Parents

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What happens when kids want to separate from their parents?

Divorcing your parents

Single Mom Seeking: Thanks to Drew Barrymore's interview on "60 Minutes" about divorcing her parents, a national dialogue has started about this often-hushed topic:

When parents and their kids split up.

This week, Jezebel featured the story "Irreconcilable Differences: When Kids Dump Their Parents."

Also this week, Dr. Richard A. Friedman -- a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College -- wrote in the New York Times:

"Of course, we cannot undo history with therapy. But we can help mend brains and minds by removing or reducing stress. Sometimes, as drastic as it sounds, that means letting go of a toxic parent."

This resonates with me very deeply. You see, when I was 18, I had such a big falling out with my father -- so big that I legally dropped my last name.

Looking back, my decision was dramatic -- and malicious. My father had not been abusive or negligent. He'd simply had a hard time letting his oldest daughter grow up. (He was THAT father who sent flowers to me every week at college -- along with buckets of caramel popcorn. And he called the dorm phone persistently, as much as I begged him to give me some space.)

Today, now that I'm a single mother, we still have our share of issues. But my father has gone to couples' therapy with me (strange, I know!), and both of us have worked so hard to make healthy boundaries. I'm incredibly grateful.

We've both worked hard to be open and honest. As adults, we've learned how to communicate -- as adults, for real.

I'm curious: Have any other moms out there "divorced" their parents -- and later tried to repair the relationship?



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