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.