Part 1: Academic Article
Das, M., de Valk, H., & Merz, E.-M. (2016) ‘Mothers’ Mobility after Separation: Do Grandmothers Matter?’ Population Space Place, doi: 10.1002/psp.2010.

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What Population Geography ‘concepts’ does the article address?
The study aimed to get a better understanding of the movement patterns of women that were recently separated from their partners. It emphasizes especially on the separated mothers’ move to their maternal grandmothers’ house/location which can be a source of emotional, practical, and financial support (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016).

What does the article have to do with Population Geography?
The article’s link to Population Geography is that the termination of romantic relationships is concomitantly associated with mobility (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). One of the partners must move to a different location. The article focuses on the movement choices of mothers who were recently separated and tackles two important questions. Firstly, it scrutinizes the function of linked lives between separated women and their mothers for movement choices (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). Secondly, it looks to explain how the support needs of the separated mother, signified by the life course attributes of the separated mother, for example, the age of her children and socio-economic status, inform these mobility choices (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). Separated mothers tend to move to the grandmother’s municipality, which may in part be due to the need for childcare. They also lived with the grandmother because of a weak socio-economic status (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). Even after moving out, mothers often stayed in the grandmother’s municipality.

Why is the study conducted where it is conducted?
The research incorporated the entire Dutch population making it a reliable source of mobility research (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). The distance between family members is rather constrained in the Netherlands, which is a small and heavily populated country (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). The typical distance between adult children and their parents is about nineteen miles (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). Almost half of all parents live within three miles from their children (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). The greatest level of support is present where parents live close to their children. Support decreases as distance increases. Dutch municipalities in 2010 averaged lower than eighty kilometers squared (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). Thus, the distance between mothers and grandmothers residing in the same municipality is no more than six miles. Intergenerational association and support are comparatively high in the Netherlands than in other European countries (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). Around seventy-five percent of Dutch parents communicate with their non-live-in children at least once every week, and about fifty percent of parents give some form of intergenerational support to their children. Communication and support are greater where there are grandchildren.

Why is the topic of the article important for the broader world?
The study provides an understanding of mobility patterns after separation and gives evidence that the choice of a place of residence by mothers is motivated by intergenerational connected lives. Children and their social relations fix a family to a location and may put a serious limitation on the mother’s mobility. The question whether mobility patterns of separated mothers is in part influenced by intangible gains, for example, emotional support, necessitates qualitative comprehensive interviews and research that may shed light on the psychology of human choice (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). Another curious question is whether children benefit from mobility patterns that result in them being near their grandmother (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). One of the harmful outcomes of parental divorce is that children usually lose access to their father’s resources, and it would be curious to find out whether the grandfather’s resources, for example, investment, care, and involvement, could make up for this loss, albeit partly (Das, de Valk, & Merz, 2016). The article shows that grandmothers matter a great deal when it comes to the spatial decisions of mothers after they separate.

Part 2: Non-Academic Article

The non-academic source provides guidance to grandparents on how to support their grandchildren through their parents’ divorce. It focuses on grandparents that end up living with their grandchildren and give them emotional and financial support. The role of the grandparent gets a bit more complicated when the parents of their grandchildren separate. They become more of authority figures to their grandchildren than the dotting grandparents. They provide more than emotional support and go on to give financial and moral support as well. They are faced with the need to balance between taking over the role of parenting and letting the child’s parents parent the child as they see fit.

Which ‘concepts’ from your academic article are addressed by the online source?
The concepts from the academic article that are addressed by the online source are that of providing the grandchildren with a home, providing care, emotional and financial support and involvement (Webb, 2013).

Purpose and objectives of the ‘parent’ online resource
The purpose of the online resource is to investigate further the practical part of the grandparents’ contribution in their grandchildren’s lives when they come to live with them after the parents’ separation. The academic resource highlights that separated mothers tend to move in with the grandmother. The grandmother is usually the main source of support in these circumstances. But it does not indicate ‘how’ they provide support and why the maternal grandmother is preferred over the paternal grandfather. The article shows how important the grandparent role in the grandchild’s life is after separation and that it matters a lot if the grandparents play their role properly. It shows what a significant role the grandparent plays in the grandchild’s life in cases of separation. I found this non-academic resource on, which is a website that provides insightful information to grandparents about family relationships and grandchildren.

Why is this issue covered by the ‘parent’ online resource?
The issue is covered by the online parent resource so that it can help grandparents to prepare themselves to take in their separated child and their children. It offers guidance on how to speak to the grandchild about separation, how to handle separation issues, the importance of providing a secure environment for the grandchild, and how to provide emotional support. The academic article explores the possibility of whether the father’s absence from the child’s life after separation can be compensated for by the careful and appropriate care of the grandparents through the grandfather’s resources. The online source sheds some light on this matter. It shows how important it is for families to maintain intergenerational ties.

Part 3: Critical reflection
Grandmothers play a critical role in the separated mother’s choice of residence after separation. The present times are marked with high divorce rates and there is an increased need for comfortable childcare in many countries where there is little to no support from the state because of state budget limitations (Feijten & Van Ham, 2008). Hence, intergenerational family support is gradually increasing. Research into the ways in which intergenerational support impacts movement decisions of the parent(s) who need the support of their parents and how this support benefits the people across generations should be a critical matter in the research topic. The children may be shielded from the negative effects of divorce, and the parent can find relief in a good transitory home before they get their lives back on track.

  • Das, M., de Valk, H., & Merz, E.-M. (2016) ‘Mothers’ Mobility after Separation: Do Grandmothers Matter?’ Population Space Place. Retrieved from
  • Feijten, P., & Van Ham, M. (2008). Residential mobility and migration of the divorced and separated. Demographic Research, 17, 623-653.
  • Webb, J. (2013). Helping Grandkids Survive Divorce. Retrieved from