Divorce: What Would a Child Do?

This thoughtful guest post is from Amy Hilton, Regent Law Alumna:

     A YouTube video has circled social media this week showing a six-year-old girl talking to her mom about her parents’ recent divorce. In the video, the girl asks, “Mom, are you ready to be [my dad’s] friend?” She continues, “Just try your best. I don’t want you and my dad to be replaced and meanies again. I want you [and] my dad to be placed as settled and be friends. I’m not trying to be mean. I just want everyone to be friends. And if I can be nice, I think all of us can be nice too.”

     While People magazine has dubbed this child an “emerging life coach,” it is more fitting to consider this video as an illustration of the effects of divorce and family fragmentation on a child. The little girl in this video is asking for stability. Children suffer when their parents aren’t together.

     A recent article by Lynne Marie Kohm, a professor and dean at Regent University School of Law, suggests that the best environment for raising a child is a home in which the parents are married. Yet, the number of children living in mother-only households has increased steadily since about 1970. The resulting father-absence increases a child’s risks of emotional and behavioral problems, drug use, and teenage pregnancy.

     It is important to strengthen and support the family. Some states—like Texas—are doing so. Dean Kohm is helping family law attorneys protect families by considering a solution other than divorce. Resources to support families during and after separation and divorce are available on this site.

1 comment:

  1. This young child has become something of a social media mini-celebrity since this video became viral. It is incredible to see how much simple wisdom and common sense this little girl has and is trying to communicate to her parents. It is also incredibly obvious to see how much pain she is going through because of relationship and family choices outside of her control.

    While attended Dean Kohm's recent talk entitled "Obergefell: Calling Convictional Christian Scholars," the dean discussed some of the unintended consequences of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell and that the Court has not redefined marriage but instead continue to expand it. The dean mentioned that the focus of marriage decades ago had started to shift from a single unit with the purpose of both parents giving of themselves for the fulfillment and success of the family unit as a whole to a more individualistic self-centered approach. The shift in thinking is unfortunately not new to humanity but the widespread cultural normality of it has had and will continue to have excessive negative consequences. As entertaining as this little girl is to watch I cannot help but be reminded that she is simply expressing deep confusion and pain because her family and world is being ripped apart by divorce.