Coming Soon!
How Children Suffer When a Parent Deserts Them
by Andrea Francis
June 2023, 190pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7796-4
$65, £50, 57€, A90
Available for purchase 30 days prior to publication.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7797-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From 1960 to 2016, the number of children living with their mothers alone tripled from 8% to 23%, while the percentage of children living with their fathers alone increased from 1% to 4%.

Featuring children's voices describing the trauma and suffering they feel when their parents leave, Abandoned explores psychological theories of mothers' and fathers' roles in children's lives and offers practical advice to those who care for children traumatized by parental abandonment.

Parents leave their children for many reasons, including divorce, work, imprisonment, mental health, and domestic violence. While children may appear to understand these reasons, their hearts are often broken; they are traumatized and grieve their parent’s absence. Their pain shows itself in a variety of maladaptive behaviors and emotions, such as anxiety, panic attacks, self-injury, low self-efficacy, anger, and excessive or inappropriate online use.

In Abandoned, counseling psychologist Andrea Francis draws on classic and current research to describe the critical roles of mothers and fathers in their child’s development. Stories told by children and family members are woven throughout the book to demonstrate the social, emotional, and psychological impact of parental abandonment. The children represent different ethnicities and socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, highlighting that the pain of parental abandonment is felt keenly by all children regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or culture. Francis’s theory of “twoness” helps explain how children often cope.

Along with its study of children’s trauma, this book offers interventions derived from the author’s experience, including multicultural activities that offer hope, resilience, and healing for abandoned children.


  • Details the critical role of involved parents in their children's lives and the devastation children feel when a parent leaves them behind
  • Illustrates the many reasons parents leave their children behind and offers empathy for the abandoning parent
  • Explains abandoned children's maladaptive and dysregulated behaviors, such as anxiety, self-injury, depression, low self-esteem, rage, and excessive online activity
  • Gives voice to abandoned children and allows their feeling of grief and pain to resonate throughout the book
  • Suggests a number of solutions for the children themselves and for families, caregivers, and schools to use throughout childhood and into maturation to adulthood
Andrea Francis, PhD, is a psychotherapist and former school counselor. She is in private practice, specializing in intergenerational trauma in children, adolescents, and families. She earned a BA in English literature from the University of the West Indies and a PhD from Walden University, where her doctoral work focused on the relationship between adolescent girls and their nonresident fathers. Francis also holds MA and MEd degrees from Columbia University in New York, where she specialized in counseling psychology. As a middle school counselor, she was recognized as counselor of the year, and she conducts workshops for practitioners in the field.


"With literary sophistication and scholarly precision, Andrea Francis tells a compelling story of trauma journeys and regeneration. She passionately recounts the struggles and triumphs of generations of young people whom she has nurtured. Rooted in personal experience, Abandoned documents the author’s own journey to healing; it is a powerful testimony to the therapeutic power of empathy."—Carolyn Cooper, Professor Emerita, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica
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